By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
6:36 PM EDT, August 1, 2013
Under the watchful eye of the coaching staff, Ravens left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie is working to melt off pounds in the summer heat.
McKinnie reported to training camp overweight and wasn't allowed to practice on the first day. Listed at 6 feet 8, 352 pounds, McKinnie reported at least 10 pounds over that weight, if not higher. McKinnie said his target weight was 346 pounds.
The former Pro Bowl pick has been out on the field every day since the first practice last week and has reached the point where he's able to complete an entire practice; until a few days ago, he had struggled to do so.
"It's going good," McKinnie said. "I'm back in the swing of things. I was a little over the weight I was assigned. It wasn't the conditioning, I was just overweight from the assigned weight. We wanted to spend that first day doing cardio to get that down. I'm 10 pounds over my weight. My assigned weight is 346."
McKinnie, 33, has a long history of weight and conditioning issues; during the NFL lockout two years ago, his weight ballooned, and he reported to the Minnesota Vikings at 386 pounds.
Last year, McKinnie reported a few days late to training camp after saying he had a slip and fall at his South Florida home. He spent the entire season on the bench after accepting a pay cut and then became a starter again in the playoffs at left tackle with Michael Oher shifting over to the right side.
McKinnie didn't have much energy during the first few days of practice. He was noticeably sluggish and didn't move his feet well.
"I'm better this year," McKinnie said. "The first day, I was inside. I did cardio the whole time. I was kind of drained the second day. I was kind of catching up. That kind of set me right. I'm good now."
McKinnie attributed his weight increase to lifting weights rather than his diet and exercise regimen.
"Another thing I learned is I need to stop lifting," McKinnie said. "Lifting kind of bulks me up and makes me heavy. I haven't been lifting this camp, just doing cardio. My strength was never an issue. I did lifting because that's what we were supposed to do. I stopped lifting to get down to weight and focusing mainly on cardio."
McKinnie wasn't required to take the conditioning test because of his high level of participation in the offseason conditioning program.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh made it clear that McKinnie needed to cut weight for his health and effectiveness.
“Bryant is just too heavy right now,” Harbaugh said during the first day of training camp. “He needs to lose weight. He's in good shape and he has good cardiovascular fitness, and I can tell he's worked hard, but I wasn't real comfortable putting him out there at that weight."
McKinnie drew praise from Harbaugh this spring for his work ethic after signing to a two-year contract with a maximum value of $7 million.
Annual $200,000 reporting bonuses and $200,000 workout bonuses and weight clauses in the deal, as well as a $500,000 roster bonus next year, were designed to provide motivation for McKinnie, who proclaimed in June that he was dedicated to becoming the best left tackle in the game.
“Yeah, we're both disappointed,” Harbaugh said. “I'm not sure who's more disappointed, Bryant or I, because he was pretty darn disappointed, but I was feeling pretty disappointed myself. We had a long talk about it."