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Ravens 'Very Open' To Re-Signing Bryant McKinnie

Posted Mar 20, 2013

John Harbaugh said Michael Oher can play left or right tackle if Bryant McKinnie doesn't return.


The Ravens like their options on the offensive line. They’re young and they’re flexible.

But they still want to keep free agent left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

“We’re very open to bringing Bryant back,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday. “I hope that works out and we’ll just have to see.”

McKinnie, 33, wasn’t a starter last season until the playoffs began. But once inserted to protect quarterback Joe Flacco’s blind side, the offensive line solidified and McKinnie excelled.

Now he’s a free agent, but the market for McKinnie is unclear. The Chicago Bears were reportedly interested before signing Jermon Bushrod. Other than that and Jake Long going to the Rams, there hasn’t been much movement on the tackle market, or buzz about McKinnie.

If McKinnie does sign elsewhere, the Ravens have options.

Harbaugh said Michael Oher could play left or right tackle next season, as he has shown throughout his four-year career. Second-year lineman Kelechi Osemele could play left tackle, left guard or right tackle.

If Oher and Osemele play tackle again, that leaves an opening at left guard that was filled by a rotation of players last year in Ramon Harewood, Bobbie Williams (released), Jah Reid and Osemele.

“If Bryant comes back and we’re able to work that out, then he’ll be the left tackle because he’s a left tackle, and then those other guys can play those other spots,” Harbaugh said.

“I’d say we’re flexible right now. We’re going to put the best five in the best spots and try to build the best lineup we can based on who’s there. We’ve got candidates.”

Also among those candidates are Harewood and Reid, who can both play tackle or guard. Harbaugh said both are good young players who will be “future starters in this league for sure.”

The Ravens are still on the lookout for linemen, however. They could add one in the draft or perhaps turn to free agency if McKinnie doesn’t re-sign. Harbaugh said the Ravens will also be looking at centers with Matt Birk retiring, even though he trusts Gino Gradkowski can do the job.

“I think we need another offensive lineman,” Harbaugh said. “We like our guys, but we’ve never walked away from a good player.”

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