Despite taking part in a limited number of practices after reporting late to training camp, left tackle Bryant McKinnie expects to see plenty of playing time when the Ravens travel to Atlanta for their preseason opener Thursday night.
After practicing on a limited basis for two days late last week under the acclimation period laid out by the collective bargaining agreement, McKinnie was cleared to participate fully on Monday. However, he says he will take the field against the Falcons in the first preseason game.
Harbaugh said Tuesday the coaching staff was still deciding whether to play players who had recently returned to the practice field such as McKinnie and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
“I’m actually going to play a little more,” McKinnie told AM 1570 WNST on Wednesday morning. “We just got back into pads on Monday, so I need to get more reps and get back on the field.”
McKinnie has received limited reps at left tackle with the starting offensive line, but the 6-foot-8 tackle has seen most of his work with the second-team line as Michael Oher continues to work primarily at left tackle for the time being. Harbaugh said at the start of training camp that Oher was the team’s left tackle until further notice, but that was before McKinnie reported on July 29 after revealing he’d suffered a back injury in a fall at his home in Florida.
The Ravens are not only evaluating McKinnie’s conditioning, but it’s clear they’re sending a message that he simply won’t be handed the starting job before proving he’s in proper football shape. The 32-year-old said last Saturday he weighed 360 pounds, which was 15 pounds heavier than the reported 345-pound mark the team desired him to weigh by the start of the preseason but 10 pounds lighter than what he weighed upon arriving in Baltimore late last August.
Plenty of questions surrounded his weight and conditioning when the Ravens signed him last year, but he was the only starting offensive lineman to play every snap during the 2011 season.
“I feel good,” McKinnie said. “I’m just ready to go work on my technique and stuff like that. Just get out here and get my reps in and get [my] footwork down. I’ve only really had one day in [full] pads.”
For now, McKinnie is focused on his play on the field and isn’t interested in discussing his reported financial strife after this week’s revelation that the Ravens will garnish 50 percent of his net compensation as part of the terms of a settlement with a lending agency that filed a lawsuit against him last November.
“There’s really no financial situation,” McKinnie said. “That was a lawsuit that took place and is actually over, so I guess they need to make a press release for that so people stop bringing that up. That’s not even on my mind.”
Listen to McKinnie’s interview with WNST.net’s Drew Forrester in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault HERE.