After being pulled from practice at mandatory minicamp last week over health concerns, Ravens defensive nose tackle Michael Pierce said Friday that he blames himself.
In an interview with Alabama’s WNSP (105.5 FM), Pierce said he “mismanaged” his offseason workouts.
“Throughout the offseason, I tend to lift [weights] more than run,” he said, according to AL.com. “Being a nose guard, I want to be strong or whatnot.”
Pierce, who appeared heavier than the listed 340 pounds he played at last season, left the field Tuesday after a conversation with coach John Harbaugh following a brief period of stretching. He did not return to practice Wednesday or Thursday and was not made available to reporters.
Rated the Ravens’ top defender last season by Pro Football Focus, Pierce did not participate in voluntary organized team activities over the previous three weeks after signing a second-round tender in May. He’s among the defense’s top pending free agents, along with cornerback Jimmy Smith and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor.
Harbaugh said Tuesday that Pierce, 26, who has yet to take a conditioning test that is mandatory for training camp participation, “was not ready for practice yet.”
“Oh, sure, it’s a problem,” Harbaugh said. “We want guys practicing. We want them ready to practice and physically able to practice. It’s very important.”
Pierce told WNSP that Harbaugh has “been nothing but a fair guy” in his handling of the situation. He added that the staff wants him running more before training camp starts late next month.
“At the end of the day, you expect a team leader to come back in better shape than I did,” Pierce said. “That’s a mistake on my behalf I have to correct. I don’t want to get into much more than that.”