WESTMINSTER, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens received good news this morning, as Offensive Tackle Jared Gaither returned to the practice field. This came just three days after he had to be removed from the field at McDaniel College by a cart, and after a weekend where reports surfaced that Gaither had lost 25 pounds this offseason.
When asked about Gaither following the morning’s practice session, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said “I really don’t know what was bothering him…we learned that it’s nothing major.”
Well, that’s good news…right?
It is a bit concerning that there was no definition given to the health issues Jared Gaither has been battling, but not totally surprising. Harbaugh said he hadn’t talked to Gaither about putting on weight, saying his weight issue will “take care of itself.
So what is it that the Ravens are talking to Jared Gaither about?
“What we’re talking to him about right now is playing” according to the coach.
It’s fair to say that “playing” is the most important thing the Ravens could be talking to Jared Gaither about right now. Behind Gaither, the Ravens are paper thin at a position where it is important to be thick. Oniel Cousins (throat) remains on the PUP list, while Tony Moll (unknown) missed practice again Monday.
Gaither will be an important part of the success of the Offensive Line, as he and Michael Oher are amongst the best Offensive Tackle tandems in the NFL. The dropoff from Gaither to the next group of guys-even when healthy-is significant.
With that being said, the Jared Gaither saga has been one of the more interesting ordeals surrounding the Baltimore Ravens this offseason. Gaither was switched from LT to RT during the team’s mandatory mini-camp; then stopped practicing due to a foot injury. Gaither did not participate in other OTA’s in Owings Mills; and was particularly quiet about his injury throughout the offseason.
Gaither signed a 1 year tender for just over $2.3 million as a restricted free agent; and will be working to earn a long-term contract that is more likely to come from another team in the league than from the Ravens. There is no question that he would have greater long-term value as a LT than as a RT.
This is just a hunch (although it is made using what we know of Gaither and his agent Drew Rosenhaus), but I doubt this is the end of the Jared Gaither saga during Training Camp. I doubt that his return to practice marks the last we will hear of him missing days or having strange new injuries.
Again, just a hunch-but a fairly informed hunch all things considered.
NOTES: The National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson is reporting that the Ravens have traded QB John Beck to the Washington Redskins with compensation unknown. This would leave the Ravens with Marc Bulger and Troy Smith backing up Joe Flacco (UPDATE: The Ravens acquired CB Doug Dutch in the Beck trade)…CB Chris Carr missed practice this morning with what John Harbaugh described as “tightness” in his lower back. Harbaugh said Carr sitting was a precautionary measure, and the trouble likely came from the number of reps Carr had to take due to injuries to CB’s Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb and Walt Harris. Both Washington and Harris practiced Monday morning….Shayne Graham tried all field goals during Monday’s practice; making 12 of 13 attempts. His long was 53, but he missed another 53 yard try short and wide right.