OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens began their first full-squad workout of the summer having already lost a player for the 2014 season with the news of veteran cornerback Aaron Ross tearing his Achilles tendon.
Ross suffered the injury while taking his conditioning test while veteran cornerback Dominique Franks did not pass his, explaining his absence from the field during Thursday’s practice. The former was officially placed on injured reserve while Franks starts training camp on the non-football injury list until he passes his conditioning test.
Signed along with Ross following last month’s mandatory minicamp to boost depth at the cornerback position, Franks is expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback spot behind starters Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith. Though not a good impression to make, Franks failing the test isn’t an uncommon occurrence as a number of veterans have failed the Ravens’ challenging conditioning test at the start of training camp over the years.
Head coach John Harbaugh announced the injury to Ross after Thursday’s practice and left open the possibility of the Ravens adding another veteran cornerback.
“We have pretty good depth, [but] we’ll always be looking for better players,” Harbaugh said. “Whenever I get asked that question, I give the same answer. I don’t think we have an particular urgency. We have good players at corner. The guys are competing, [and] we like our guys. I expect the third corner to be one of the guys already here.”
Defensive tackle Terrence Cody was also absent after being placed on the active physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason hip surgery. Coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the week there is no clear timetable for his return to the practice field, but he continues to make good progress in his recovery.
Running back Bernard Pierce (shoulder surgery) and offensive lineman Jah Reid (calf) were both present and working after Harbaugh declared both to be at full speed earlier this week. With Thursday’s news of starting running back Ray Rice receiving a two-game suspension to begin the season, Pierce figures to have the inside track to begin the year as the starting back in Gary Kubiak’s offense.
“I’m very confident in Bernard. I’ve always liked Bernard,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a heck of a player. He’s worked very hard. He’s 217 pounds, [and] he’s in the best shape of his life. He looked good out here the last couple of days; he looked really good today.”
The Ravens were practicing in helmets, shells, and shorts on Thursday morning and will conduct their first full-contact workout on Saturday.