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AFC North Notes: Ravens not giving up on McKinnie

Posted Aug 2, 2012

ITEM: Latest on McKinnie, Pitta, Reed, PKs
According to a report in the Carroll County Times, the Baltimore Ravens aren’t giving up on veteran LT Bryant McKinnie even though he has been placed on the non-football injury list because of a strained lower back.

McKinnie was being fined $30,000 a day for missing camp for four days until he reported on Monday, July 30, when he was reinstated from the reserve/did not report list. McKinnie has to pass a physical and a mandatory conditioning test before he’ll be cleared to practice.

“He and I had a long conversation, a very good conversation,” Harbaugh said. “Like I’ve said many times, I think the world of ‘B-Mac.’ I do believe he’s a hard worker. I do believe he’s been working hard, but he’s not ready to practice yet. When he’s ready to practice, he’ll be out there.”

McKinnie told the Carroll County Times that his four-day absence from training camp was due to a lower back injury sustained when he slipped on a wet surface at his home in South Florida and twisted his lower back.

Tight end Dennis Pitta had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand on July 31, and he’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks, which should allow him to return for the opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pitta had a career-high 40 receptions for 405 yards and three touchdowns last season.

“Just kind of what we thought, as it turns out,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll be shooting for the first regular-season game. If it’s sooner than that, that would be a bonus.”

After a summer that at times hinted at retirement and other times hinted at a desire for a renegotiated contract, Ed Reed now says
he’s focused on football and isn’t worrying much about a new contract, although he did mention the two sides already are talking about one.

“I’m here, man,” Reed told Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. “What transpired months back transpired. What happened because of what I had to deal with family wise and what I’ve been going through for the last 11 years now in the league you know it’s always a time when you have to assess yourself. Once you get to a certain part and you’ve been doing it maybe not being as vocal guys don’t be as vocal with it, but when you’re dealing with the business side of it, too, that’s something you have to deal with.

“I choose to deal with it the way I deal with it. That way, young guys know it. Kids will know it as they come up. Their parents will know it. I’m not a guy who holds things back. That’s why you get what you get. And if I didn’t do it that way, you wouldn’t have the information to write about.”

Reed, 33, is entering the final year of a $40 million contract, and is due to make $7.2 million in 2012. Despite his stated interest in a new deal, Reed currently does not have an agent.

“Talks have already been there,” Reed said. “I know Ozzie and them know I want to be here. We will get that done when it’s time to cross that bridge. I’m good with football right now. I’m focused on the season. That’s all I’m worried about right now is getting my teammates better and get myself better and get ready to go forward this season.

“Like I said, they know I’m assessing myself year to year. Would I like to play more? Of course, but the body tells you something different. You know, that’s something you always deal with after the season. So, when we cross that bridge y’all guys will know.”

So far in camp, rookie Justin Tucker seems to have the lead in the competition with Billy Cundiff for the placekicking job. Through Aug. 1, Tucker had made 35-of-37 attempts, including two simulated game-winners in overtime and a 55-yarder. Cundiff has gone 29-of-35 in five days of camp.

ITEM: Looking good still might not be enough for McCoy
The Plain Dealer reported that Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren turned to his right-hand man, Gil Haskell, during red zone drills Wednesday and stated what many observers had been thinking.

“I said, ‘Boy, Colt’s having a good day today,’“ said Holmgren. “He had a good practice, he’s had a good camp and he’s looked good. I’m proud of the way he’s handling it. I told Colt that the other day.”

The newspaper also reported that Coach Pat Shurmur is set to name rookie Brandon Weeden his starting quarterback before the first preseason game in Detroit on Aug. 10, and that McCoy, who’s working exclusively with the second-team offense, could still be traded before the preseason expires.

“We’ll have to see how that goes coming down the stretch,” said Holmgren.

McCoy’s progress means the Browns either will have a quality backup for Weeden, or his stock will rise in the eyes of a trading partner.

“Colt’s doing great,” Shurmur said after Wednesday’s practice. “He’s continuing to improve. I’m seeing him do things in this camp that he didn’t do a year ago, and he’s getting more comfortable within our system and he’s coming to work every day and working hard. He’s doing a good job.”

ITEM: Bengals extend Lewis’ contract through 2014
The Cincinnati Bengals continue to make sound football decisions, with the most recent being the announcement the Coach Marvin Lewis signed a two-year extension that binds him to the team through the 2014 season.

“I’m glad that this is all behind us now and we can move forward and coach,” Lewis said. “I’m happy, pleased and flattered for the organization to offer the opportunity like this and to not leave it sitting there throughout the season, and we were able to get things completed. We’ve got a lot of work to do and tough decisions to be made in the future here, and let’s get the best team we can put together and move forward.”

Lewis, entering his 10th season in Cincinnati, was in the final year of a two-year extension he signed at the end of 2010. In the month after that extension was announced Carson Palmer demanded a trade and Bob Bratkowski was fired as offensive coordinator and replaced by Jay Gruden.

Since then, the Bengals drafted wide receiver A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, who became the first rookie receiver/quarterback duo to make a Pro Bowl; the defense became a top 10 unit and the Bengals made the playoffs for the second time in three seasons with a 9-7 record before losing to Houston in the Wild Card round.

Lewis’ extension, combined with the extensions of Gruden and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, means the core of the coaching staff is in place through the 2013 season.

Said Bengals President Mike Brown in a statement: “Coming off a playoff finish last year, with a solid coaching staff and good young players, continuity at the top gives us our best chance to do well. We are excited about the team’s prospects and happy to have completed this process with Marvin before the 2012 preseason schedule begins.”

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