By Matt Vensel
6:30 PM EDT, August 23, 2011
The Ravens made a risky move to bolster their offensive line Tuesday, signing offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie to a two-year deal. The 6-foot-8, 350-plus-pound lineman was technically a Pro Bowl player for the Vikings in 2009 even though he didn't bother showing up for any of the Pro Bowl practices and was kicked off the NFC squad.
The talent is there for McKinnie to be the Ravens' short-term answer at right tackle -- or maybe even left tackle -- but there are a few reasons why the soon-to-be 32-year-old was still on the free agent market.
For one, he has been charged in three different incidents since entering the NFL in 2002, once for a street fight, once for a bar fight and once for allegedly performing and receiving sex acts in public in the infamous Vikings Loveboat scandal in 2005, when a bunch of players went wild on a boat with strippers and sex toys.
He also was cut by the Vikings this summer for showing up to camp in awful shape, reportedly more than 50 pounds overweight (no word on how much excess weight was edible underwear).
All these incidents -- even something as simple as skipping the Pro Bowl -- make you seriously question McKinnie’s dedication to his craft. I can guarantee you this: If someone says this guy plays like a Raven, they’re lying to you.
Well, that’s assuming he passes his physical.
But the offensive line is so unsettled right now, some have already suggested that some guy named Mark LeVoir, who was signed over the weekend, could be the team’s answer at right tackle in 2011.
Maybe the Bryant McKinnie experiment will work out. Maybe he and Michael Oher can be the bookend tackles the Ravens lost when Jared Gaither went AWOL. And maybe his off-field issues are behind him.
But if this large man finds the slightest bit of trouble in Baltimore, the Ravens need to cut ties instantly.
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