WESTMINSTER, Md. — Despite assurances that Jared Gaither was merely suffering from back cramps after being carted off the field Friday afternoon, the offensive tackle was again absent on Sunday morning as his immediate status remains unknown.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh added no clarity to the situation but disclosed Gaither will have blood work done and the medical staff will run the tackle through a series of tests on Monday.
“I’d like to be able to tell you what it is,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know.”
Gaither arrived training camp weighing 311 pounds, more than 20 pounds lighter than the weight at which he played last season. This was not the wishes of the coaching staff and Gaither’s rationale for dropping so much weight is a mystery to Harbaugh.
“[Gaither] made a decision [to drop weight],” the Ravens coach said after Sunday morning’s practice. “He’s working out on his own. It’s not like he was around. He made the decision to go lighter. He can explain to you why.”
You can hear more from Harbaugh in addition to Derrick Mason, Donte’ Stalloworth, and Todd Heap in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right now!
Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) throughout the afternoon.
10:25 p.m. — I’m a little late with this one, but the Ravens have inked offensive tackle Devin Tyler to a contract after placing cornerback Domonique Foxworth on Injured Reserve. Tyler is from Forestville, Md. and attended Temple. He’s 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds.
With tackles Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (throat), Stefan Rodgers (calf/ankle), and Tony Moll (undisclosed) all not practicing, Tyler is needed to have another camp body at the position.
Tyler, along with two others, tried out for the team following the Sunday morning practice.
2:05 p.m. — It’s no secret the Ravens are on the prowl for cornerback help and have spoken to a few cornerbacks in recent days. Names linked to the Ravens include Fred Smoot and even former Browns corner Anthony Henry.
As I reported on Friday, the Ravens have had discussions with Frank Walker, who spent the last two seasons in Baltimore. Though Walker struggled at times and was often chastised by fans and media alike, he has the advantage of being very familiar with the Ravens’ system. John Harbaugh confirmed after Sunday morning’s practice that Walker has had conversations with other teams as well.
“Sure, [Walker] would have a shot,” Harbaugh said. “You know, [he] knows our scheme, he’s got some options, teams he’s talking to right now, but he’s one guy of a lot of guys we’re looking at.”
In an interview I conducted with Walker a couple weeks ago on AM 1570 WNST.net (you can find it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault), he reemphasized his love for the organization and how he’d love to come back to play with the Ravens.
1:40 p.m. — Donte’ Stallworth continues to impress in the early days of camp and figures to be the No. 3 receiver if he can stay healthy and fight off former starter Mark Clayton.
Expectations are obviously high for the passing offense, but Stallworth is no stranger to playing with prolific offenses. He was a member of the record-breaking offense of the 2007 New England Patriots that included Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Jabar Gaffney at wide receiver.
While Stallworth isn’t ready to proclaim the Baltimore receivers a more impressive unit than those Patriots, he sees vast potential in what the Ravens can accomplish in the passing game this season.
“This offense is capable of that game kind of season [that the 2007 Patriots had],” said Stallworth when asked about the potential of this receiving corps. “We have a lot of new guys here that are working together and we’re just trying to build on each other and work together and try to put together that same kind of situation.”
1:30 p.m. — With your always exciting kicking update for the day, Billy Cundiff connected from 32, 41, and 55 yards. He missed wide right from 45 yards.
I knew you were waiting on the edge of your seat for that one.
Jameel McClain continues to receive the large majority of reps at inside linebacker next to Ray Lewis with Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe in the mix as well. We all assumed the latter two would be the ones battling for the spot next to No. 52, but McClain continues to go about his business and worked extremely hard in the offseason, according to his coaches.
1:25 p.m. — Expectations are soaring for the Baltimore offense after the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth, and Sunday morning’s workout was a perfect example why.
Joe Flacco threaded the needle repeatedly, torching defensive backs even when they blanketed receivers. During a red zone session, Flacco connected with Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta for touchdowns and threw a beautiful over-the-shoulder ball to fullback Le’Ron McClain, who was covered perfectly on the play.
Of course, Flacco’s performance on August 1 means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but for one morning only, he looked like the elite quarterback many hope—or expect—him to become in 2010.
12:40 p.m. — My apologies for the lack of updates so far. Members of the media just attended the NFL Rules session with officials at training camp this weekend. I’ll write about the rules changes in the near future and how it might impact the NFL in 2010.
Tight end Todd Heap returned to practice after passing his conditioning test and being removed from the non-football illness list this morning. He was suffering from swollen tonsils, a condition he described as “knocking him out.”
In addition to Gaither missing practice, cornerback Fabian Washington sat out the morning workout as he continues to work his way back into training camp mode. Offensive tackle Tony Moll and veteran cornerback Walt Harris were also sidelined.
With Gaither and Moll out, Joe Reitz took the first-team reps at right tackle, but the Ravens have signed offensive lineman Daniel Sanders to add another body to a banged-up unit. The team also worked out a few offensive linemen after the morning workout on Sunday.
As for the players currently on the PUP list, there were no changes Sunday morning.