Birk to receive frequent days off; no change in McKinnie’s status

July 31, 2012 | Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continued to deal with absences on both the offensive and defensive lines as they took the practice field on Tuesday.

In addition to left tackle Bryant McKinnie — who continues to be held out of practice with a lower back injury and hasn’t taken the team’s conditioning test — center Matt Birk was given off practice for the second straight day. Entering his 15th season, the 36-year-old will receive frequent rest throughout the preseason in a move that will allow the Ravens to further evaluate rookie Gino Gradkowski and young interior lineman Justin Boren.

“Matt is at a stage of his career where probably he’s going to practice less than he’s not going to practice,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I think that would be the best thing for Matt getting ready to go.”

Offensive lineman Jah Reid (calf) continues to be held out of practice while he’s on the active physically unable to perform list.

On the defensive line, the Ravens continue to be without All-Pro lineman Haloti Ngata (hamstring) and defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee), but veteran defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu joined them as a non-participant as he was given a day off as a member of the “30-and-over” club.

Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (bruised shoulder), wide receivers Tandon Doss (hamstring) and David Reed (knee), linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon), and tight end Dennis Pitta (broken hand) were also absent. Pitta underwent surgery on Tuesday and is expected to be back for the Ravens’ season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10.

Rookie running back Bernard Pierce and linebacker Josh Bynes were also new additions to the list of players missing from practice. Pierce is dealing with a hamstring tweak, and his girlfriend is also expecting their first child.

Despite a plethora of missing players on Tuesday, the Ravens saw three players return to action in wide receivers Tommy Streeter and Devin Goda and offensive tackle Ramon Harewood.

Wide receiver LaQuan Williams left practice late in the session, but whatever was ailing him is not considered to be a concern.

Maryland football coach Randy Edsall was attending practice on Tuesday.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from John Harbaugh, linebacker Paul Kruger, and linebackers coach Ted Monachino HERE.

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