Ravens don't expect McAlister to show up on time

OWINGS MILLS — When the Baltimore Ravens report to training camp Thursday, the defending AFCN champions don't expect Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister to be in attendance.<br><br>As the Ravens' franchise player for the second consecutive year, McAlister may not report to Westminster for weeks, if at all. <br><br>

He has yet to sign his one-year $7.1 million tender, a requirement for practicing with the team, and an obstacle to resuming negotiations for a long-term deal, according to general manager Ozzie Newsome.

"We've prepared for it," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "As I've said before, even though at that time Chris had intimated that he would be at camp, I told you it's very unlikely that he would be at camp.

"We're prepared for that, and we're going to honor and respect the fact that he has some restrictions placed on him as the franchise player. We hope that he will respect, conversely, the situations we're in."

McAlister has been seeking a long-term contract extension that's similar to the $63 million contract of four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey that included an $18 million signing bonus. If the Ravens designate him as their franchise player for a third consecutive year following this season, he would receive a 20-percent increase for an $8.5 million salary.

McAlister, 27, is slated to be paid $420,000 per game this season, but is required to sign his tender and report to earn that money.
McAlister's agent, Mitch Frankel, didn't return telephone calls.

Billick said he was certain that McAlister would report in time to get in condition for the Ravens' Sept. 12 season-opener against the Cleveland Browns. He wasn't sure, though, how much time McAlister will ultimately miss.

"I have no doubt he'll be here, ready to go for the start," Billick said. "It's important that he gets here in enough time to be able to physically do what he needs to be able to do. Chris has an appreciation for what that is.

"I would probably have it a little bit earlier than what he thinks, and it's probably a little bit later than what I think. We'll get it done."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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