Live from Westminster: McGahee and Grubbs off PUP list, Kelley Washington on

July 30, 2009 | Luke Jones

7:39 p.m. — The Ravens’ official site reports that Willis McGahee and Ben Grubbs have been removed from the PUP list, but wide receiver Kelley Washington was added to the list.  There was no word on the reason why Washington was placed on the list.

The Ravens also signed wide receiver Thomas White out of Baylor.  White has good size at 6-2 and 205 pounds.  You can read his college bio here.

6:35 p.m. — The press conference was spiced up by a surprise appearance by Terrell Suggs.  The Pro Bowler complimented Oher on his first practice as a Raven and even asked him about the upcoming season.  Great stuff from T-Sizzle!

6:18 p.m. — The press conference has concluded, and Michael Oher expressed relief at having the contract signed and being able to focus on football.  The entire press conference will be up in the WNST audio vault if you’d like to hear from the Ravens’ new right tackle directly.

Ravens general manager did most of the talking, but Oher expressed enthusiasm for being a Baltimore Raven.

Here are just a few notes from the press conference:

- Ozzie Newsome called it a tough negotiation, citing how very few first-round picks had signed and how the Ravens reported to camp earlier than most teams.  The general manager believes it’s a fair deal for both sides.

- Oher was disappointed that he was unable to join his fellow rookies for Monday’s reporting date.

“I felt like I let my team down.”

- Newsome went on to describe his first-round pick as a hard worker and a team player.  With Oher, Gaither, Terry, and Oniel Cousins in camp, he feels like the offensive tackle position has been taken care of.

- Newsome credited Pat Moriary and Oher’s agent Jimmy Sexton for stepping “outside of the box” to project the slot and complete the deal despite they’re being so few picks signed.

- The Ravens’ architect discussed the state of the offensive line, saying that it starts with the addition of a “great technician” like Matt Birk.  He believes the six-time Pro Bowler will be a great influence for the younger players on the line.

Newsome believes the Ravens now have great depth on the offensive line, an absolute necessity for succeeding in the NFL.

- Newsome credited offensive line coach John Matsko and assistant Andy Moeller as being as good as anyone in the league in terms of offensive line coaches.  Their influence on this young and athletic offensive line has been substantial.

3:34 p.m. — It is official.  Michael Oher has signed his brand new five-year contract with the Ravens.

We’re about two hours away from his press conference, and Ozzie Newsome will also be on hand to talk to reporters.

I’ll be on the scene, and we will have their comments for you in the WNST audio vault.

12:57 p.m. — Various media sources report Oher’s five-year deal is valued at up to $13.8 million with $7.8 million guaranteed–not too far away from my estimate of $8 million in guaranteed money.

12:42 p.m. — I just received official word from the Ravens that the Michael Oher press conference will take place at 5:30 p.m.

I will be live on the scene and will bring all the details to WNST.net.

12:11 p.m. — What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, the offensive line was one of the biggest question marks on the team.  Future Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden had officially retired, and the Ravens had severe question marks at both left and right tackle.

Fast forward to this year, and the Ravens now possess two young, talented tackles in Jared Gaither and Oher.  They drafted left guard Ben Grubbs with their first-round pick in 2007 and used their third-round pick that year to select right guard Marshal Yanda.  Though Yanda is currently on the PUP list, recovering from a severe knee injury sustained against the Colts last season, he is expected to play this season.

The Ravens may have lost center Jason Brown in free agency to the St. Louis Rams, but six-time Pro Bowl selection Matt Birk brings a veteran presence to an extremely talented and young offensive line.

The wide receiver position is obviously a concern, but any knowledgeable football fan will tell you the key to a successful offense starts in the trenches.  This offensive line is young and has the potential to be very good in 2009 and beyond.  If they can provide Flacco the sufficient amount of time to throw, this group of receivers will look much better—with or without Derrick Mason.

10:52 a.m. — For any Ravens fans wondering if Oher missing the first two days of practice is a major concern, remember the Ravens only had two other offensive linemen practicing.

Even if Oher had been present, he simply would have been working on drills with Robby Felix and Bryan Mattison.  If Oher is truly the dynamic force the Ravens expect him to be, I highly doubt his absence over the first two days will have any effect whatsoever—assuming he is in good physical shape.

10:22 a.m. — Though the Ravens have an administrative day closed to both the public and media today, I’ll be in Westminster for the Michael Oher press conference this afternoon.  General manager Ozzie Newsome will also talk to the media.

Oher, the 23rd overall pick, reached an agreement with the Ravens on a five-year contract last night, ending his brief holdout.  Terms have not been disclosed at this time, but the deal will likely include around $8 million in guaranteed money.

Oher will fly to Baltimore today, sign his contract, take a physical, and join his teammates in Westminster.  If all goes according to plan, he will be on the field practicing tomorrow for the Ravens’ first full-squad workouts of the summer.

The Ravens’ projected starting right tackle was the sixth first-round pick to agree to a contract.

Former Maryland Terp Darrius Heyward-Bey became the seventh this morning, agreeing to a deal with the Oakland Raiders.

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