The daily fines that wayward offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie is piling up for his unexcused absence from training camp for personal reasons pales in comparison to the enormous lawsuits he's facing.
Nonetheless, the former Pro Bowl blocker's tab with the Baltimore Ravens is getting quite expensive.
Under the terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, McKinnie is being fined $30,000 per day and can be docked an entire game check for $188,235 for every preseason game he misses. The Ravens' veterans reported to training camp Wednesday.
"Yeah, the CBA applies to this situation," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said when asked if McKinnie is being fined.
Facing a $4.5 million lawsuit for a loan he took out during the NFL lockout last year as well as multiple other financial imbroglios, McKinnie remains on the reserve/did not report list.
Harbaugh said that the team has yet to speak with McKinnie, who has also battled conditioning issues and was asked to get down to a target weight of 345 pounds after weighing 354 pounds and not being allowed to participate in a mandatory June minicamp.
"As far as I know, there's no communication from Bryant," Harbaugh said. "He does not have an agent. We heard from a chiropractor on the first day and that's all we've heard."
The chiropractor reference might be a revealing remark from Harbaugh about what's ailing McKinnie, a tall lineman at 6-foot-8 who has battled weight problems. McKinnie ballooned up to 387 pounds during the lockout last year and was cut by the Minnesota Vikings.
McKinnie has had several agents representing him this offseason, but is in the process of hiring new representation for football as well as a new financial adviser.
Although McKinnie hasn't spoken with his coach, he has apparently talked with his replacement at left tackle: Michael Oher.
"I've talked to him a few times," Oher said. "I just told him to take your time and we'll be here if he needs us and things like that and just take care of anything he has going. So, I'm pretty sure he'll get everything squared away."
When asked if he believes that McKinnie will ultimately rejoin the team, Oher replied: "I think so. He sounds positive. Like I told him, 'Take your time, and we'll be waiting for you.'"
Harbaugh has declared that Oher is the Ravens' new left tackle until further notice and that the team is searching for a right tackle to take over for Oher.
McKinnie started every game last season after signing a two-year contract with the Ravens that includes a $3.2 million base salary. However, he didn't always grade out well for his run blocking.
Offensive line coach Andy Moeller was asked if McKinnie's presence is missed on the line.
"Oh, I think our guys
. sure because of the bond that they have developed with him a year ago," Moeller said. "Yes, so I would say yes. As far as what we have, we have enough right out here right now to be the kind of linemen we want to be."
Michael Oher on moving back to left tackle: 'It's no big deal'
Michael Oher has moved several yards over to his left, a relatively short journey that returns him back to his roots: protecting the blind side of the quarterback.
It's a natural move for the Baltimore Ravens' offensive tackle given his background immortalized in a best-selling novel and popular movie about his life: "The Blind Side."
Now, the defending AFC North champions are shifting Oher back to where he started two years ago for them, where he was an All-American at Ole Miss and as a blue-chip high school recruit after being adopted by the wealthy, nurturing Tuohy family following his odyssey from a homeless teenager whose extremely rough childhood included his paternal father being murdered and his mother being addicted to crack cocaine. And Oher overcame every obstacle to make it to the NFL.
Aligning Oher at left tackle is being done out of necessity at this time given the unexcused absence of left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie due to personal issues that includes serious financial problems and perhaps a back ailment.
It could wind up being a permanent move if the Ravens ultimately decide that McKinnie, who's on the reserve/did not report list and being fined $30,000 per day for not reporting to training camp under the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
"It's really no big deal," Oher said. "I got a lot of snaps at left tackle in the spring and right tackle. I played both my first year and second year, so it's no big deal. I'm a good enough athlete to play either way. So, it's no problem with me."
That's what the Ravens are banking on should the uncertain situation with McKinnie continue to go in the wrong direction.
Although Oher didn't excel at left tackle two seasons ago after replacing a bad-backed and unreliable Jared Gaither, the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder does appear to be an improved candidate for the left side.
Two years ago, Oher was extremely prone to penalties and had the occasional lapse in assignments. Most notably, Oher didn't pick up blitzing Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu in a key December loss. And he sacked quarterback Joe Flacco and forced him to fumble, leading to the Steelers' game-winning touchdown.
The Ravens are confident that Oher is better prepared now to play left tackle.
"At left tackle, a lot," Ravens offensive line coach Andy Moeller said when asked about Oher's readiness in comparison to his last stint there. "He already has a year under his belt over there. He knows the personnel he is going against. His sets are more consistent on the left, and the great thing about Mike is if we have to come over here and he has to go back on the right side, you do it and it's no big deal for him. Michael Oher is a tremendous asset. He is a great, versatile football player, and you just line him up and let him go. He'll be fine on the left side. He'll be great."
Oher moved back to right tackle last season where he started every game and had arguably his top season since being drafted in the first round with the 23rd overall pick and signed to a five-year, $13.8 million contract that includes $7.8 million in guaranteed money.
Working in tandem with Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda, Oher seemed to find a comfort zone over on the right side.
Oher is clearly the Ravens' most athletic offensive lineman with a quick first step, fanning out to his left to wall off pass rushers.
Lean and muscular with a lower body-fat percentage, Oher clearly has the physical tools to play left tackle.
"It's as quick as a lineman as we've got," Moeller said. "He can move, run, cut off, reach, physical at the point of attack, and Michael, really, when you think about it, since he has gone from right to left to right, to have the ability to go back to left, is versatile on both sides and can set and play left tackle. His experience has been great.
"Of course, the guys we have to block here on a daily basis, he gets great work on there. He just plugs in and goes to whatever side we put him on. He just plugs and goes. So as far as what he can work on, he can work on things that we all need to work on, pad level, consistency, both in the running and pass block, but that's no different than any of our guys up front. He's been great."
For Oher, retracing his old footsteps at left tackle involves getting back to what he did in college and for several games in the NFL.
Durable and tough, Oher is honing his skills for the subtleties of the position.
"Yeah, it's just muscle memory and things like that," said Oher, who's under contract through the 2013 season and due an $865,000 base salary this year. "It's the same footwork, but it's just like going from left hand to right hand. It just takes repetition to get your technique back down, and it shouldn't be a problem."
The bottom line for Oher is his first steps will be to his left instead of his right.
It's a rare tackle that can play both sides.
"It's challenging in that your footwork is the opposite of what it is," Moeller said. "We all know it's the blind side of the quarterback on the left side, but he is really fluid on both sides and really moving to his right or to his left and his right to left in the stance.
"It's easier for him than most, really more so than anybody I can think that I've ever coached. So, for him it is. The assignments aren't so hard. It's just flipped over right. How to do it and the technique setting and particularly the pass-rushers you will get on the left side is different."
Besides getting acclimated to his old position again, Oher also is getting accustomed to playing with veteran left offensive guard Bobbie Williams.
That's not tough considering Williams' expertise heading into his 13th NFL season.
" Bobbie is a great guy, man," Oher said. "He communicates great. He's been around. He's a veteran, he's a great player. I like being on the side of him. He's physical and things like that, so I think he's a great addition to the team. I'm looking forward to playing with him this year."
What's going to be different and extremely challenging for Oher is contending with the superior pass rushers that populate the right side of defensive front sevens around the NFL and dot the Ravens' schedule.
If Oher stays at left tackle, he'll likely be assigned to block Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith and outside linebacker Brooks Reed, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
"Yeah, it's different guys, but nowadays, you've got great pass rushers on each side of the ball," Oher said. "So, it really doesn't matter. You've just got to do your job."
Ravens notebook: Osemele activated from physically unable to perform list
Webb excused from practice, to return today
Baltimore Ravens rookie offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele was activated from the physically unable to perform list after being sidelined this week with back spasms.
The second-round draft pick from Iowa State practiced Friday for the first time since initially getting hurt during an organized team activity in May.
Osemele lined up at right offensive tackle with the first-team offense and didn't look that rusty, displaying a powerful hand punch and sound footwork.
"This was a good day to get him back," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We were going to not put him in full force. We wanted to ease him in, just make sure the back didn't cramp up on him. It looks like he got through pretty well."
Osemele is a former All-Big 12 selection who's under consideration to start immediately with left tackle Bryant McKinnie absent for personal reasons and Michael Oher shifted over from right tackle to the left side.
"Absolutely, we definitely feel like he's a guy we could plug in and he can start," Harbaugh said. "K.O. is talented, he's tough, he's really smart."
WEBB EXCUSED: Starting cornerback Lardarius Webb was excused from practice to attend to a personal matter involving his son.
Webb is scheduled to return in time for today's afternoon practice.
"Lardarius Webb was not here on a personal issue at home," Harbaugh said. "No problem, just something he had to take care of at home with his son."
NGATA STILL OUT: Although Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata remains on the physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury sustained during the conditioning test, he's expected to be back soon.
The 6-foot-4, 340-pounder has been rehabilitating his leg in the weight room, including leg presses.
"It's not a major hamstring, but Haloti has been around a long time," Harbaugh said. "We'll bring him back when the time is right here. It won't be real long, but it's going to be a few days."
Besides offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, Webb and Ngata, the following players didn't practice: offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (ankle), defensive end Pernell McPhee (arthroscopic knee surgery), offensive lineman Jah Reid (strained right calf), wide receiver David Reed (anterior cruciate ligament surgery), center-guard Justin Boren (undisclosed) and Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (partially torn right Achilles tendon).
McPhee, Reid and Reed are on the physically unable to perform list.
Suggs is on the non-football injury list and expected to miss at least the majority of the season.
KICKERS EXCELLING: The Ravens' kickers have been perfect so far, not missing any field goal attempts.
Undrafted rookie Justin Tucker connected on a 57-yarder that just cleared the crossbar.
Former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff is the favorite to retain his job.
"The kickers have done well," Harbaugh said. "Have they missed one yet? I don't think they have. We put them in pressure situations as much as we can out here. They are all kind of game-type situations. I'm very pleased with both guys."
KINDLE MAKING PLAYS: Backup outside linebacker Sergio Kindle recorded several sacks and intercepted a deflected pass.
The former second-round draft pick from the University of Texas played sparingly last season after missing his entire rookie year with a fractured skull.
Now, Kindle is challenging for playing time. He finally looks comfortable on the field, but did suffer permanent hearing loss in his left ear when he fell down two flights of stairs two years ago.
"Sergio has done exceptionally well," Harbaugh said. "You saw him rush the passer really well. We're not in pads yet, so we will see, but his quickness is back. He seems to have his balance back from what we saw in college and he's done a great job of learning the defense. I can't wait to see him when we put the pads on and when we get into preseason games."
FULL PADS: The Ravens will be in full pads today after working in shells the first few days of camp.
"You can get more done, but it's not dramatically more," Harbaugh said. "It's just enough more, just what we need to see when they put on the pads. I can't wait. I know the players can't wait, either. You heard them out there talking about it, right? On some of those plays that were in question, when Ray [Lewis] was talking about whether that would have been a first down or now, we'll find out [today]."
QUICK HITS: Cornerback Jimmy Smith went down to the ground with lower leg cramps toward the end of practice, but it wasn't serious. ... Wide receiver Tandon Doss beat Smith for a long touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco. ... Flacco regularly hit tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta over the middle, threading passes between the defensive backs for first downs and one touchdown apiece. "Those guys looked good, made a bunch of plays in the red zone and what we call the fringe area moving into the red zone," Harbaugh said of Dickson and Pitta, who combine for 94 receptions, 933 yard and eight touchdowns last season as the replacements for former Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap
. "If your tight ends can be a factor up the seams, that's huge."
Nose guard Terrence Cody is noticeably lighter and quicker after dropping 25 to 30 pounds since the Ravens drafted him in the third round two years ago. He's listed at 341 pounds and has lost a considerable amount of body fat.
"He's made it through two grueling practices here, and he has had a bounce in his step at the end," Harbaugh said.
"He's in great shape." ... Harbaugh said he's not concerned about the labor dispute between the league and the referees. "That's down the road," he said. "Both sides are doing everything they can to get it organized. We have great officials in this league. We respect them. I know the league does. Hopefully, something will get done quickly."
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