McKinnie restructures deal, stays with Ravens

Bryant McKinnie's day began with the veteran tackle thinking he was leaving Baltimore. It ended with a restructured deal to keep him in a Ravens uniform.

Early in Bryant McKinnie's Tuesday afternoon, the veteran left tackle thought he was out of Baltimore in what would've been a surprising move. 

The Ravens asked McKinnie to take a 50 percent pay cut or that he would be released. McKinnie took to Twitter, tweeting, "Decision made! I'm gone!" which set off a fire storm of speculation as to what was going on between the two parties.

  By 3:30 p.m. both sides had reached an agreement to restructure McKinnie's previous $3.2 million deal to a more incentive-laden contract, where if McKinnie meets certain goals he can receive the money he was initially set to earn. 

Thirty minutes later, coach John Harbaugh met with the media, playing down the negotiations that took place throughout the day. 

"He's been a part of us, he never left us," Harbaugh said. "I'm excited about Bryant, always have been, just like I told him. I have a lot of respect for him as a football player. I love his style his play. We're going to be a strong offensive line and he's a big part of it."

Losing McKinnie would have been a major blow to Baltimore's offensive line, seeing as it has implemented a no-huddle offense that should feature a lot more passing. McKinnie is seen as Baltimore's best pass blocker and has put himself in good shape this offseason. 

McKinnie signed with the Ravens during training camp in 2011, after Minnesota released him for reporting overweight. McKinnie had a target goal of 348 pounds this offseason, but the lowest total he reached was 354. 

He reported to Baltimore's facility this preseason at 360 pounds, but after he spent five days resting at his South Florida home recovering from an injured back when camp opened. Though he was 12 pounds heavier than where the club wanted him, he looked fit enough to handle the conditioning that's required for being in an uptempo offense. 

"Bryant's a hardworking guy, that's our expectation," Harbaugh said. "Our expectation is that guys come out, practice hard and practice fast and give us their best. He's always doing that. I think he continues to work his way back toward that Pro Bowl form. Both he and I agree that's our goal for him. We talked about that as far as last winter. He's working his way back in that direction."

Both sides appear happy with the deal that was reached as the Ravens prepare for their Monday night opener against Cincinnati. 

"Guys are pros and guys understand the business aspect of all this stuff," Harbaugh said. "He's a great guy, he's a hard worker and he's a pro. He's a Raven and I'm really happy about that. He seems happy about it too."

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