Agent: McAlister unlikely to report soon

WESTMINSTER -- The agent for Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister said Tuesday that he doesn't foresee the Baltimore Ravens' franchise player reporting to training camp in the near future.

McAlister has yet to sign his one-year, $7.1 million tender, a requirement to be able to practice and an obstacle, according to general manager Ozzie Newsome, to resuming negotiations on a long-term contract.

"There's really nothing happening right now because the Ravens won't talk until he signs his tender, and there's really no time table for when Chris will report," said Mitch Frankel, McAlister's agent. "Chris is working out hard, staying in shape and he'll get in there eventually to get ready for the season. When that will happen, I don't know. Until then, there isn't much to talk about."

McAlister, 27, isn't subject to fines for his prolonged absence because he's technically not under contract. Another team could pursue McAlister and sign him to a contract, but it's an unlikely scenario because they would owe the Ravens two No. 1 draft picks as compensation if Baltimore opted not to match an offer sheet.

McAlister has been seeking a contract similar to the $63 million deal of Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey that included an $18 million signing bonus.

Frankel said it's unlikely that a new contract will be struck after McAlister reports because the two sides didn't see eye to eye in prior discussions. He didn't cite specific dollar figures.

Team officials, including Ravens coach Brian Billick, said they're confident that McAlister will report in sufficient time to be prepared for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the Cleveland Browns. He has missed 17 practices and a scrimmage since training camp opened.

"Even when Chris reports, I don't think there will be a new deal right away because we were too far apart the last time we talked," Frankel said. "They're trying to pay him like the sixth or eighth-best cornerback, and we want him to be paid with the top three cornerbacks in the league. What the Ravens are talking about isn't top-of-the-line money."

TRAINING ROOM: Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap returned to practice after missing the last few days of practice with a knee contusion.

He participated in team drills without incident, and Ravens coach Brian Billick said Heap might play a series or two in Thursday's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Wide receiver Travis Taylor (groin) returned to practice.

Cornerback Gary Baxter (hernia) practiced for two consecutive days for the first time since training camp opened. Receiver Devard Darling (quadriceps) practiced for the second day in a row after missing Friday's scrimmage.

Linebacker Peter Boulware (knee), quarterback Anthony Wright, (shoulder), running back B.J. Sams (thumb) and tight end Trent Smith (leg) didn't practice. Defensive tackle Matt Zielinski said he will undergo surgery on his knee in about a week.

BACK AT CAMP: Offensive tackle Orlando Brown returned to practice after being excused Monday for a family-related personal reason. Billick said Brown would likely be available against the Falcons.

"Some serious things are going on that he has to attend to," Billick said. "I think he should be ready for Thursday night, but we'll have to respect what he's got going on at home."

Senior consultant Jim Fassel was back in Westminster after attending the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for quarterback John Elway in Canton, Ohio.

OPINION: Former majority owner Art Modell was at practice with McDaniel College president Joan Develin Coley as his guest in his golf cart. Modell's thoughts on the Ravens: "It's early, but we have a good football team. I believe we're going to go very far if we stay healthy."

QUICK HITS: ESPN's television crew of Joe Theismann, Pat Summerall, Paul Maguire and Suzy Kolber were at practice to prepare for Thursday night's broadcast. … Billick on which NFL players' jerseys he wore growing up: "I really liked Fran Tarkenton, Roman Gabriel. Don Meredith was a big favorite of mine."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

Ravens Insider Top Stories