While weak-side linebacker Jameel McClain is likely to start the season on the physically unable-to perform list, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that “by no means” has the veteran been ruled out for the 2013 season.
McClain, who has been sidelined since suffering a spinal cord contusion in the Ravens’ Dec.16 loss to the Washington Redskins, has been on the PUP list since the start of training camp. If he’s on that list to start
the regular season, he would be out at least through the Ravens’ first six games.
McClain has taken “periodic” magnetic resonance imaging tests, but one has yet to come back completely clean as he still has some bruising in the area.
“We’ll just keep taking the MRIs and when the MRI is clear, we’ll go. And the MRI will be clear. There’s no question that at some point in time, it will be clear,” Harbaugh said. “It’s just impossible, they say, to
tell us the time frame. It could have been clear three months ago. We all hoped for that. It could be three weeks from now. If we go PUP – which I think we’ll do at this point, we’ll see – we’ll probably get another MRI before we make that decision.”
With McClain sidelined, Josh Bynes has emerged as the starter at weak-side linebacker with veteran Daryl Smith starting in the middle. McClain, 28, has started 44 games with the Ravens the past three
seasons after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2008.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said before the start of training camp that McClain will be a starter when he’s healthy, but it’s impossible for doctors to determine when that will be. Meanwhile, McClain continues to work out at the team facility every day and take part in meetings and film sessions.
“There are a lot of people that think he probably could play but we’ve had this conversation with Jameel and his family and we all feel like, ‘let’s be unanimous on this,’” Harbaugh said. “So Jameel will continue to remain a part of us through the PUP and he’s in every meeting. He’s training the young guys, he’s staying in phenomenal shape if you’ve seen him. He’s a fitness warrior. All he’s going to have to do is get back in football shape which will probably take a week or two when he does come back.”
The Ravens have until Aug. 31 to officially place McClain on the reserve physically unable-to-perform list. Harbaugh said that McClain will probably get another MRI before the organization makes that decision.