Ravens sign talented but troubled lineman McKinnie

August 24
Baltimore Sun
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"The Ravens took their biggest gamble of free agency when they reached an agreement with talented but troubled offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie on Tuesday.

An eight-year starter for the Minnesota Vikings, McKinnie agreed to a two-year contract with a maximum value of $7.5 million (including $1 million signing bonus).

The deal is contingent on McKinnie passing a physical Wednesday, which is far from a formality. The Vikings released the 6-foot-8 offensive lineman on Aug. 2 after he reportedly showed up to training camp close to 400 pounds.

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Whether this move is a shrewd one or a sign of desperation is up for debate. If McKinnie's in shape, the Pro Bowl tackle would solidify the weakest starting position on the Ravens. If McKinnie's weight balloons, the Ravens are essentially stuck with a high-priced Jared Gaither.

McKinnie, 31, who is being listed by the Ravens at 345 pounds, comes with heavy baggage, too. He has been charged three times by police since 2005 and he was kicked out of the Pro Bowl game two years ago for disciplinary reasons.

One of the reasons the Ravens made the move is because so many players vouched for McKinnie.

"Some people look for speed, some people look for youth. But give me heart, wisdom and the will to play and win the game, and I will take that player on my side any day of the week," said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who shares a University of Miami connection with McKinnie."

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