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Late For Work 7/30: Bryant McKinnie’s Back, Ready To Play After Accident

Bisciotti reveals who Ozzie likes at tackle. Ravens/Flacco agent meet. Tucker takes lead.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, July 30th, 2012 at 9:07 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

McKinnie’s Back, Ready To Play After Accident

Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie returned to Baltimore yesterday afternoon, and Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times tracked him down at the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to get the scoop on his unexpected four-day absence from training camp.

McKinnie said he slipped and fell in his home in South Florida last week, twisting and injuring his lower back.

“Of course, I’m glad to be back,” he told Wilson. “I’m kind of disappointed, though. I’ve been training hard, I’ve been boxing and doing all this stuff. To have a setback like this is disappointing. Why isn’t anybody saying I got hurt?

“I don’t know what people thought was going on. How I got hurt is running out of the house. It was slippery and I fell and hurt my lower back. You can’t be playing football when your back is hurting. When I fell, I said, ‘I know I ain’t going out like this.’”

Wilson noted that the 11-year veteran looked lighter than he was in June. That could be good news for McKinnie, who has been working to reach a targeted weight of 345 pounds, about nine pounds less than he weighed at mandatory camp.

“I’m about to find out right now,” McKinnie said about his current weight. “I’m probably under 350, but I’ve been out for about four days. So, that makes a difference.”

Additionally, McKinnie appeared to be walking without difficulty and was carrying his own luggage, wrote Wilson. 

The 6-foot-8 tackle said his back was stiff, but made it clear he thinks he can practice this week.

“I think I could be back on the field soon,” he said. “It don’t hurt like it did when I first did it.”

But before McKinnie can practice, he will have to pass the team’s conditioning test which “is certainly no given,” says The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. Coaches and trainers prohibited McKinnie from participating in minicamp for conditioning purposes.

McKinnie said he was heading directly to the Under Armour Performance Center from the airport to have trainers look at his back run and the conditioning test if allowed.

The question now is how the Ravens respond to the last four days. He was reportedly placed on the reserve/did not report list and accrued the CBA fine of $30,000 per day.

Prior to reports of McKinnie’s return to Baltimore, some analysts said they were getting the feeling that the Ravens were ready to move on.

On Friday, CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora tweeted after a visit to Owing Mills, Md. that McKinnie’s days “appear quite numbered.”

“The Ravens are making a lot of noise that possibly they’re done with him,” CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg said. “That’s certainly what it sounded like [last week]. It remains to be seen how this is played out.”

Bisciotti Reveals Who Ozzie Likes At Tackle

Owner Steve Bisciotti was stuck in traffic on the beltway while on his way to the beach Friday evening.

With nothing else to do, he decided to call into The Scott Garceau Show on 105.7 The Fan.

“I can’t play left tackle … or right,” Garceau joked, referring to the hole the Ravens have to fill on the offensive line.

We’re already working that out,” Bisciotti responded.

Garceau told Bisciotti that he’s reminded listeners that General Manager Ozzie Newsome has found some solid roster solutions in the past during training camp and the preseason.

“We’ll find him. We’ll find him,” Bisciotti said. “[McKinnie will] either be back or he won’t, but we’ll get a lot of good snaps for these guys.

“Ozzie actually likes that right tackle that’s out there from Illinois undrafted.”

The player Bisciotti is referring to is Jack Cornell, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound rookie free agent that can play both guard and tackle. He ran with the first-team offense at times last week when McKinnie was missing and Kelechi Osemele was still out due to back spasms. He even split time with K.O. when he returned to the field.

Cornell, 23, is a lesser-known name, but Bisciotti’s mention of him should put him on fans’ radar.

He played in 29 career games for the Illini offense, making 19 starts and was the recipient of the team’s Red Grange Award for dedication. Cornell started all 13 games at strong-side guard as a senior, but played both guard and tackle as a junior.

Bisciotti Happy Rice Didn’t Hold Out

The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently dealing with a headache stemming from running back Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout to renegotiate his contract. He has two years remaining on a five-year deal, reportedly worth $31 million.

While Bisciotti understands that holding out is a legitimate tool for players and agents, he’s happy that negotiations with his star running back, Ray Rice, didn’t get to that point.

“[Rice] could have been like a Jones-Drew or anybody else, it’s their prerogative,” Bisciotti told The Fan. “Their agents are doing their job. So it’s an emotional thing and I’m glad that Pat [Moriarty, Vice President of Football Administration] and Ozzie are involved in it. Pat has the emotion and Ozzie has the steady hand. We let them do their job.

“I got to talk to Ray after practice and I said, ‘Hey, you know, there’s no doubt in my mind that your agent thought you were worth two more [million] a year, and you probably thought you were worth one more a year. You made life easy for all of us and I put the money back in the club. It’s not going in my pocket. I promise you that whatever you think you could have held strong [for] and maybe gotten more, the money will be spent on a player next to you.’”

J. Smith Injury Not Considered Serious

Cornerback Jimmy Smith left practice early Saturday during the special-teams portion of practice.

Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees was asked about Smith, but he didn’t know exactly what the issue was. The Sun’s Ed Lee reported that it “appeared” to be his leg.

“Smith battled leg cramps Friday, but the injury is not expected to be serious,” Lee wrote. His colleague, Zrebiec, added that he expects Smith to be back to practice early this week.

The Sun also reported that rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw stayed on the sidelines during the second half of practice Saturday, after appearing to injure his right arm.

Ravens, Flacco Agent Meet Again

The Ravens and agent Joe Linta continued their negotiations on quarterback Joe Flacco’s contract extension, reports The Baltimore Sun, as he heads into the final year of his rookie deal.

Sunday’s meeting is believed to be the third in-person discussion between the two sides since the scouting combine in February. Not much was revealed about the meeting, as Linta simply characterized the talks as a “nice visit.”

“This one, however, may be more significant because it not only took place at Ravens’ headquarters, but it comes after contract extension talks for the fifth-year quarterback have heated up after the team finalized a long-term extension with Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice less than two weeks ago,” wrote Zrebiec.

Boller Retires One Day After Signing With Chargers

One day after signing with the San Diego Chargers, former Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller unexpectedly retired, according the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Head Coach Norv Turner didn’t go into detail about Boller’s decision, saying only “he does not want to continue to play football.”

General Manager A.J. Smith told FoxSports.com’s Alex Marvez he was “stunned” considering Boller’s enthusiasm when he signed with the team.

The Ravens’ former 2003 first-round pick (19th overall) calls it quits at 31 years old and after eight NFL seasons. He has played for the Ravens, Rams and Raiders.

Boller will now enjoy life with his daughter and wife, former Miss California and Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean, who he married in 2010. They had their first child in 2011.

Kicker Tucker Takes ‘Slight Lead’ Over Cundiff

After the first two days of training camp practice, neither Billy Cundiff nor Justin Tucker could gain separation in the Ravens’ kicking battle.

But on the third day, the rookie finally took a “slight lead”, says Lee.

Both kickers had a perfect record until Cundiff missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt wide left at the end of Saturday’s practice. Prior to that point, Lee reports that the eight-year veteran connected from 20, 32, 41, 51 and 54 yards. Meanwhile, Tucker went 7-of-7, converting attempts of 20, 30, 40, 41, 45, 51 and 54 yards.

The three-day total has Tucker at a perfect 20-of-20 and Cundiff kicking 18-of-19.

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