For once, the Ravens got a bit of good news on the health front as left tackle Bryant McKinnie and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata practiced Friday for the first time at training camp.
Both players were removed from the team’s physically-unable-to-perform list after passing their conditioning tests. They participated in individual drills, but watched full-team exercises from the sidelines – something they will do again during Saturday’s practice at M&T Bank Stadium.
“It means a lot,” coach John Harbaugh said after Friday’s session at the Ravens’ training complex in Owings Mills. “It’s another offensive lineman. Of course, Bryant is a guy who has played a lot of football for his career but also for us last year. He’s competing right in there with the rest of the guys and he can be a big part of us and has been. And of course, Haloti Ngata, his presence speaks for itself. They both have to go in shells for two days for the activation period, but then they’ll be in there Monday.”
Earlier in the day, McKinnie had posted this via his Twitter account: “Praise God I’m back 2 good health! & Haloti & I ran & passed the condition test this morning.”
Harbaugh said that McKinnie passed “with a diving effort at the end. It’s a tough test. You have to be in shape to pass that test. So congratulations to those guys.”
McKinnie had not reported to camp until Sunday after suffering what Harbaugh had called a back injury. Ngata had been sidelined by a hamstring that he had tweaked while trying to pass the conditioning test on July 26.
Listed at 6 feet, 8 inches and 354 pounds, McKinnie has battled issues with his weight, which reportedly led to the Minnesota Vikings releasing him prior to last season. But if McKinnie – who has started in 148 straight contests and is still listed as the starting left tackle on the team’s depth chart – can conquer that battle, his return could allow Michael Oher to return to right tackle and help the Ravens avoid starting either rookie Kelechi Osemele or first-year player Jah Reid on that side.
Ngata earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl invitation after recording 65 tackles, five sacks, five batted passes, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. He signed a five-year, $61 million extension last September.