Ravens players missing OTAs is just not a big deal

Can everyone just chill about all the Ravens missing from this week's OTAs?

Yes, there are some prominent names missing. Future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed elected not to show up, which is a dog-bites-man story, since they hardly ever show at these things. Veterans like Haloti Ngata, Marshall Yanda and Anquan Boldin weren't there. Neither were second-year players such as Pernell McPhee and Jah Reid.

Big deal.

Well, actually it's turned into something of a big deal -- at least for some people.

I say that because the sports talk show crazies have been all over the dial today wailing about how horrible this is for the Ravens.

They say all these no-shows at Owings Mills shows a lack of leadership. They say it contradicts what many players said after losing the AFC Championship to New England last January: that they''d work even harder this off-season to bring a championship to this franchise and its fans.

Please. It's way too early for that nonsense.

Let's start with the obvious: these are voluntary OTAs. At least technically. And it's still only May. May! The Ravens don't play a game in earnest until September.

Does anyone really think that 18 or so players missing a few non-contact drills in May is going to affect how the Ravens play in September?

And don't these talk-show crazies know NFL players pretty much keep themselves in shape all-year-around these days?

Sure, you get the occasional fat lineman who shows up huffing and puffing through the first couple of weeks of training camp. (Yes, Terrence Cody, we're thinking about you two years ago.) And the occasional out-of-shape linebacker, too. (See: Terrell Suggs three years ago.)

But for the most part, players know they have to stay in shape to survive the dog-eat-dog world of pro football.

And who knows why some of the Ravens missed this weeks OTAs? Superstars like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed know what they have to do to get ready for the new season. They've been doing it forever.

Maybe some of the other missing Ravens had important committments. Maybe some elected to stay where they were and work out with their own personal trainers.

Anyway, it's no big deal.

It's a voluntary OTA. It's only May. The season is a long way off.

Way too early to stress about who's here and who's not at the Castle.