Ravens unsure when McAlister will report

WESTMINSTER -- When Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister might report to training camp remains a mystery as the Baltimore Ravens' franchise player has yet to sign his one-year, $7.1 million tender.<br><br>

Although team officials said McAlister, 27, hasn't informed them of when he plans to arrive, they remain confident that he'll report in time to be prepared to play in the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns. They just aren't sure when that will be, whether that will be after the third or fourth preseason contest, or much sooner under a best-case scenario.

McAlister has apparently been much more forthcoming in his conversations with teammates, though, while skipping 11 days of camp, 15 practices and one scrimmage at McDaniel College.

"I know when he's coming back, but it would be unfair for me to say because I have inside information having talked to Chris," cornerback Gary Baxter said. "I can't say, but I know exactly when he's coming back, and he'll be back in plenty of time to get ready to play Cleveland."

McAlister isn't subject to fines for his prolonged absence because he is technically not under contract even though the Ravens have exclusive negotiating rights. He's seeking a contract similar to the $63 million deal of Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey that included an $18 million signing bonus.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has said that the team won't resume negotiations on a long-term deal with McAlister until he reports and signs his tender.

"Chris is part of our chemistry and our team and we need to have him back, but he's got to do what he's got to do on the business side," said Baxter, set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season and a close observer of McAlister's financial situation. "When he gets back we're going to pick this thing up and find out how good this secondary can really be."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

Ravens Insider Top Stories