Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie returned to town Sunday afternoon, arriving at Baltiome-Washington International Airport with his luggage and a sore lower back. The former Pro Bowl blocker said after his flight that his four-day absence from training camp was due to a lower back injury suffered during an accident at his home in South Florida last week. McKinnie said he fell on and twisted his lower back.
"Of course, I'm glad to be back," said McKinnie, who appeared to be lighter than he was in June at a mandatory minicamp when he weighed roughly 354 pounds. "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.'"
McKinnie was placed on the reserve/did not report list last week, and has been incurring daily $30,000 fines under the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
Although McKinnie said his back was a bit stiff after his flight, he appeared to be walking without difficulty and was carrying his own bags.
McKinnie emphasized that he thinks he could begin practicing 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."
Following his fall, McKinnie said he had his chiropractor immediately contact the Ravens training staff.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said last week that he hadn't spoken to McKinnie, but mentioned the chiropractor reaching out to the team on McKinnie's behalf.
Since suffering the injury, McKinnie said he's been getting treatment, including applying heat, getting massages and stretching exercises to loosen up his back.
"I didn't know if I needed X-rays or what," McKinnie said. "I put heat on it, got massages stretched it out and my hamstrings and calves. I would go in and get treatment and at night a lady would give me a massage."
McKinnie said he was headed directly to the Ravens' training complex to have his back checked out and run the conditioning test if his condition allows.
McKinnie was held out of a mandatory minicamp in June due to conditioning issues and assigned a target weight of 345 pounds for training camp.
When asked how much he weighs currently, McKinnie replied: "I'm about to find out right now. I'm probably under 350, but I've been out for about four days. So, that makes a difference."
Cut by the Minnesota Vikings last year after beefing up to 387 pounds during the NFL lockout, McKinnie signed a two-year contract with the Ravens last August.
He's due a $3.2 million base salary this year and was paid a $500,000 roster bonus in March after pledging to general manager Ozzie Newsome that he would get into shape.
McKinnie said he's hoping to put the scrutiny surrounding him back on football instead of about his weight issues.
McKinnie has also made headlines for financial matters, including a $4.5 million lawsuit stemming from a loan taken out during the NFL work stoppage last year.
"Yeah, I don't want everybody talking about me," McKinnie said. "I had an accident. I'm over it. I'm here to play football. I'm ready to have a good season. I'm in some of my best shape ever, so lets get to work."
Joe Flacco's agent has 'good meeting' with team officials
The agent for Baltimore Ravens quarterback negotiated again with team officials Sunday at team headquarters, another step in the process of eventually working out a long-term deal.
Joe Linta met with general manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty for several hours before driving home to Connecticut.
"It was a good meeting," Linta said in a telephone interview. "We'll keep working. There's no deadline. It's always good talking with Ozzie and Pat. Those guys are pros."
Flacco is due a $6.76 million base salary as he heads into the final year of his rookie contract.
Linta has met and talked with the Ravens several times since an initial talk at the NFL scouting combine in February.
Although no deal is imminent, talks were described as amicable and productive.
"We never leave here mad," Linta said. "It's never acrimonious."
The Flacco camp has emphasized throughout the process that they're not in a rush.
"It's not like this has to happen by a certain date," Linta said. "We've got time."
The Ravens beat an NFL deadline to sign franchise players with a $40 million maximum value deal for Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice that included a $15 million signing bonus.
Now, Flacco is the Ravens' top contractual priority.
The Ravens are currently $6.398 million under the NFL salary cap, more cap space temporarily with offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie's $3.2 million base salary not counting with him on the reserve/did not report list.
Meanwhile, Flacco has treated talks the way he would a marauding pass rusher.
That is, stoically.
Flacco is remaining focused on football and genuinely seems undistracted in his usual low-key style.
"Yeah, I'm not worried about it, especially when you are out here on whatever, however hot it was, and you're practicing," Flacco said last week.
"That's the last thing that's on your mind. I was glad for Ray, and it is a big thing for our organization to get him done. Ray is a great back, and it's great to see that happen.
"Yeah, I'm not worried about it. I haven't been worried about it. I'm not worried about it. It will happen one day, and whenever it happens, I will be excited, but you probably really won't be able to see it too much."
A Flacco contract is regarded as an eventuality, not a possibility.
Flacco said it wouldn't bother him if the talks continue into the season.
"It doesn't matter to me," Flacco said. "It's not like I'm up in the offices negotiating my contract. I really don't have any thought about it. It's up to my agent. If he happens to call me one day in October It's not like I'm thinking about it in October.
"It's not going to distract me. Like I said, I haven't really thought about it all offseason, and I'm not thinking about it now. If something happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."
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