The Ravens are expecting a full house for this weekend's minicamp.
Team officials said yesterday that linebacker Ray Lewis is medically cleared to participate and cornerback Chris McAlister is leaning toward attending the first full-team workout of the offseason.
It originally was thought that McAlister, who was designated the team's franchise player, would skip the voluntary practices. Many players routinely protest the tag - which keeps players off the free-agent market in exchange for a one-year tender worth the average salary of the top five paid at their positions - by not appearing at offseason functions.
"It's my understanding that Chris will be here," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We talked about it right after the season. Chris understands what his obligations are. He's been great about it along with [his agent] Mitch Frankel. We have no concerns with that."
Frankel did not return phone calls yesterday.
Whether McAlister shows up won't change his situation. He has yet to sign his one-year tender worth $5.9 million, and the Ravens refuse to negotiate a long-term contract before July 15 because, under league rules, they would lose the right to assign the franchise tag to any other player for the length of McAlister's new deal.
But to report to training camp at the end of July, McAlister would need to sign a contract, whether it's a long-term deal or the one-year tender. If McAlister signs the tender at any point, the Ravens still can renegotiate for a longer contract after July 15 without any penalty.
Dealing with absences wouldn't be anything new for the Ravens. Last year, the team had to cope with Lewis and linebacker Peter Boulware missing voluntary camps while negotiating contract extensions.
"We anticipate him being there, but if he doesn't, it's different than last year when we went through this with Peter and Ray," Billick said. "There's been open discourse with Mitch Frankel. Whatever Chris chooses to do, I'm comfortable with."
The Ravens are also comfortable with Lewis taking this camp at his own pace. Lewis, who had shoulder surgery on Dec. 10, was checked by team doctors earlier in the week and could take part in a majority of the non-contact practices.
"We'll pick our spots for Ray," Billick said. "We'll leave that to Ray and [trainer] Bill Tessendorf as to how much he should be involved with during the minicamp. But physically, he is cleared to go and looks great."
NOTES: Receiver Marcus Robinson signed his one-year, $700,000 contract with the Ravens yesterday. The former Chicago Bear has averaged 3.6 catches per game over his five-year career. "This is a great organization for me to be able to play for and battle for a starting position," Robinson said. "This team is on the rise. They're just trying to find pieces of the puzzle to help them win." ... Billick denied rumors that the Ravens were looking into a trade for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell. "We've had no discussions," he said. "There's no way they're going to let Mark Brunell out. That's speculation from the outside." ... The Ravens are currently not interested in former Ravens offensive lineman Wally Williams, who was released by the Saints last week. "We're probably set with the offensive line right now," he said. ... The personnel department is expected to lose a couple of its scouts to the Jaguars, who are being run by former Ravens pro personnel director James Harris. The changes likely will be finalized by the middle of the month.
May 9-11: Full-team minicamp
May 19-21: Passing camp
June 2-5: Passing camp
June 9-12: Full-team veterans camp
July 27: Report to training camp