Gaither absent from Ravens' offseason workouts

March 23, 2010|By Jamison Hensley | Baltimore Sun reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Starting left tackle Jared Gaither hasn't shown up for the Ravens' voluntary offseason workout program, which has disappointed coach John Harbaugh.

The Ravens used a first-round tender on Gaither, a restricted free agent. But Gaither is seeking a new long-term deal.

His absence at Ravens headquarters could be a protest over his contract status.

"I really believe Jared is going to be a premier offensive tackle in this league," Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. "The thing we need him to do is to get up there and start working on it. I talked to [Gaither's agent] Drew Rosenhaus and he tells me he's getting Jared in shape. The last time I checked Drew Rosenhaus doesn't coach the offensive line in the National Football League. Jared needs to be in our weight room with our players with our offensive line, becoming the player he can become."

Harbaugh added, "There's no leverage that's gained by not being with the team working out. If he thinks he's gaining some kind of leverage well he's not making himself the best player he can be. So, that's our position. Come out and go to work and become a great player."

Harbaugh said the last conversation with Gaither came in the locker room after the playoff loss in Indianapolis.

"I walked up to him and said, 'Hey, we're going to have a great offseason. You need to get bigger and stronger and therefore more durable,'" Harbaugh said. "And he was right on that. He absolutely was, 'Coach, that's what I'm going to do.'"

Harbaugh didn't know if another team had contacted the Ravens about Gaither. The Ravens would receive a first-round pick as compensation for Gaither.

"We'll see how that goes over the next two or three weeks," Harbaugh said. "We don't want to lose Jared Gaither. We need Jared Gaither as a Raven. I really like Jared. I think he's going to be a great player. I just want to work with him. We want to get him in and work with him. I know he wants to work. I know he's working hard right now. The other stuff will take care of itself."

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