It has been a strange couple of years for Jared Gaither, who has gone from starting at left tackle in Baltimore to manning the position in San Diego -- with stops in John Harbaugh's doghouse and Kansas City along the way.
Gaither is with his second team since he and the Ravens parted ways this past offseason. The offensive tackle signed with the Kansas City Chiefs after the NFL lockout, was released by the Chiefs last month and picked up off the waiver wire by the San Diego Chargers, who have started Gaither the past two games at left tackle.
In 2010, his final year in Baltimore, Gaither arrived at training camp nearly 30 pounds lighter than expected, which clearly frustrated Harbaugh, the Ravens' coach. After a couple of months of inactivity, Gaither, a White Plains native who played at Maryland, was put on injured reserve with a mysterious back injury.
In a Wednesday conference call with Baltimore media, Gaither said he has no animosity toward the Ravens.
"They're a great organization. [Ravens general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] gave me my start, and I'm very appreciative for it," said Gaither, who says he talks to some of his former Ravens teammates "infrequently."
Chargers coach Norv Turner praised the 6-foot-9 tackle on Wednesday, as did Harbaugh, who said Gaither has played "really, really well" and has been "very physical" in the past two games -- both Chargers wins.
Gaither faces a tough task Sunday night. He must keep Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after three strip-sacks in Week 14, away from quarterback Philip Rivers. And although he will be seeing purple for the first time, Gaither says the Ravens are just another opponent.
"It really doesn't make a different if it's my old team," he said. "You just prepare to win each and every week."