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Preventing some players from practicing until Aug. 4 an ¿unintended¿ consequence

Like many teams, the Ravens are not practicing with their full complement of players due to a quirky consequence of the negotiations between the NFL and its players.

Due to the lateness of the agreement on July 25, contracts for restricted free agents, exclusive-rights free agents and signed free agents after July 25 don't become effective until the new league year. A new league year begins when the players re-certify as a union and ratify the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

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For the Ravens, eight restricted free agents (linebackers Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden, safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, offensive tackle Oniel Cousins, running back Jalen Parmele and wide receiver Marcus Smith), three exclusive-rights free agents (linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, cornerback Cary Williams and guard Bryan Mattison) and four signed free agents (right guard Marshal Yanda, linebacker Prescott Burgess, cornerback Chris Carr and fullback Vonta Leach) are not permitted to practice until Thursday.

Cornerback Domonique Foxworth, a member of the players association's executive committee, said the time between the start of training camp until Thursday was necessary."There were a number of unintended consequences, and it's something that nobody likes," he said after practice on Monday. "It's kind of a necessary evil. There had to be a lag time between the re-certifying of the union and the ratification of the CBA in order to negotiate the benefits. That lag time had to be there. We as the players association proposed a waiver that those guys could sign and still practice, but the league didn't feel like it gave them the proper legal coverage. So it was kind of them holding the line. We want to do what's best for our players and obviously, the coaches want to do what's best for the team. It affects people disproportionately, but it doesn't affect the teams disproportionately. Everyone is kind of in the same spot, which is fair to the teams. For guys like Prescott, it's not fair to them, but he's a great player, and he's going to come out and do his thing."

Foxworth said the Ravens voted on re-certification last Wednesday.

"We voted on it the first night," he said. "We did our part. We're waiting for the rest of the teams to do theirs. That's part of the process, and we're done with it."

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