This all seemed so strange to me. I mean, WNST.net Ravens reporter Luke Jones had told me McKinnie had been participating in voluntary OTA’s during the weeks leading up to mandatory minicamp, working mostly in the same role as the team’s starting left tackle.
I had NEVER heard anything about McKinnie being in the area of 400, a number he admittedly reached before joining the Ravens.
During our weekly segment “The Five Questions You Need Answered Right Now” last Wednesday on the show, Ryan Chell asked me what I thought the Ravens’ first starting O-Line would look like in the preseason. I told him I ultimately believed that from left to right it would be McKinnie, Bobbie Williams, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda and Oher. Ryan pressed me about McKinnie’s conditioning issues but I didn’t budge.
Instead, after we went to commercial I told Ryan to give McKinnie a call. I figured there was enough misinformation that I wanted him to set it straight. Ryan arranged for the former Pro Bowl tackle to appear on the show Friday afternoon. I didn’t waste any time in seeking the important information.
Me: “When you were up in Baltimore and you hear the coach say there was a conditioning issue with Bryant McKinnie, what’s your response to that?”
McKinnie: “I’m not sure it was conditioning. I just know they want me to be back at my college size so that’s what we’re working to get.”
Me: “You and I talked a couple of months ago. They had brought you back to town, said everything looks good and gave you a ($500,000) bonus…did they ask for more after that point with you?”
McKinnie: “Just to continue to go back down into the 340 (pound) range, so that’s where I’m headed.”
Me: “Where did you play at last season, Bryant?”
McKinnie: “358 for the most.”
Me: “Do you think that 340 would benefit you to get down there?”
McKinnie: “We’re looking somewhere like around 345 for me to get to. It will benefit me for knee bending and stuff like that…they just told me when I had the meeting just for precautionary (reasons) not to go out there and get injured during minicamp; just do the running and lifting stuff, so I just basically went in and did lifting and running for the whole two and a half hours.”
McKinnie would later add that cardio would be a focus for him over the next couple of weeks in trying to reach his goal weight of 345 pounds.
He also revealed what his weight was when he left Owings Mills.
You might want to sit down for this.
When Bryant McKinnie left Baltimore last week, he weighed an alarming…354 pounds. (The entire interview is available here in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.)
So let’s recap. The Baltimore Ravens signed an offensive tackle last summer that left his previous team after weighing roughly 400 pounds. He shed much of that weight leading up to the start of the season and currently weighs less than he did during the course of last season. After giving him a $500,000 bonus this offseason, the Ravens would like to see him lose another nine pounds. After he practiced for a few weeks, he was held out of another week of meaningless June practice.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a little odd. But that’s all it is. Just a little odd.
What would be REALLY odd is if the Ravens chose to release McKinnie after giving him a $500,000 roster bonus knowing their next best options included a banged-up second round pick that most everyone believes is better off at guard at the NFL level (Kelechi Osemele), a second year player with little experience (Jah Reid) and a third year player with zero experience coming off multiple knee surgeries (Ramon Harewood).
Maybe the Ravens are thinking about cutting all of the players that didn’t practice during mandatory minicamp? Where were all of the stories about Ed Reed getting cut? Joe Flacco? Ray Rice? Birk?
Clearly the Ravens want McKinnie to drop some weight. According to him they’re hoping to see him drop nine pounds. I’m pretty sure I dropped nine pounds over the winter at one point with flu symptoms. (I’ve put them all back and more.)
The team definitely needs more consistent play from their O-Line unit in 2012. I have no idea how releasing the former Miami Hurricanes star would help that even a little bit.
Yet I spent the week reading stories like the ones above (and many many more) about how the Ravens releasing McKinnie due to his ballooning weight and a debt that I’ve yet to figure out exactly how it relates to…frankly…much of anything.
I’d hate to think these reporters simply failed to pick up a phone and call McKinnie to find out what was going on.
I mean, there’s no chance that’s it. It couldn’t be.