Ravens reach two-year agreement with McKinnie

The Ravens reached two-year agreement with offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, the team announced.

To fill the void at offensive tackle, the team is bringing in one of the most talented and troubled free agents available.


"Through the years, we've been fortunate to obtain players late in training camp or just before the start of the season who help us win," Ravens general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome stated. "A couple of years ago, it was Willie Anderson. Last year, it was Josh Wilson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who each made big plays at the end of games that gave us wins.

"Bryant falls in this category. He's been a productive player at one of the hardest positions to play, and he has been in sync with Matt Birk when Matt was a Viking. Plus, he has a relationship with Michael Oher and our Miami players."


The deal is pending tomorrow's physical, which could remain a hurdle. The Minnesota Vikings released the Pro Bowl offensive tackle on Aug. 2 after he reported to training camp out of shape.

It's not surprising that the Ravens added an offensive lineman. It is surprising that the the Ravens are taking this gamble with McKinnie after parting ways with another character risk in Jared Gaither.

"Ray [Lewis] and Ed [Reed] vouch for him as a person and as a player who can help us," Newsome said. "I know these veteran players are happy we're adding Bryant."

McKinnie's role is uncertain at this point. He started eight years at left tackle for the Vikings. The Ravens could insert the 6-foot-8, 386-pound McKinnie at right tackle (which has had three linemen start at that position during training camp) or start McKinnie at left tackle and move Michael Oher to the right side.

McKinnie was voted to the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season, but he did not show up for practices and was scratched from the game, eventually having to pay back almost $5,000 in travel expenses to the league.

He has been charged in three different incidents since being the seventh overall pick of the 2002 draft.

In 2005, McKinnie was arrested along with former Vikings guard Marcus Johnson on suspicion of disorderly conduct in a street fight. Also that year, he was involved in the infamous "Love Boat" incident, eventually pleading guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.

In 2008, he was charged with aggravated battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after taking part in a brawl outside a Miami nightclub.


But he has at least one staunch supporter among his new teammates.

"Some people look for speed, some people look for youth," Lewis said. "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. That is what Bryant has. I have played against him, and I know from experience how tough he is. He has a proven track record as a winner, and he is a Raven. He is one of us, and I know he will make us better."