Rolando McClain Workout With Ravens 'Not A Roaring Success'
Linebacker Rolando McClain got his first shot at re-starting his NFL career, but it apparently didn't go smoothly.
The 2010 first-round selection worked out with the Ravens Tuesday, but "it was not a roaring success," according to NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
When he asked what issues McClain had during the workout, colleague Albert Breer was told: "All of the above." Per the report, McClain didn't finish the conditioning test or do drills, and he showed up late.
Some rust was to be expected, considering the last time McClain played in an NFL game was late in the 2012 season. For his part, McClain is offering no excuses for his unsuccessful first bid.
"Football was easy. Life is hard. Gotta keep fighting tho," McClain tweeted in response to Kinkhabwala's report. "No excuse for my failures. My success no apologies. [All] that I owe is absolute honesty. Keep it 100, but that's what they all say... #Hustle."
At this point, it is unclear whether McClain has a future with the Ravens.
The 24-year-old linebacker told reporters this offseason that he would like to unretire and join the Ravens. His target date to return was the Ravens' voluntary workouts, which are scheduled to begin Monday.
A poor workout doesn't necessarily mean McClain is done in Baltimore, but outsiders have their doubts.
"I'd be surprised after bad workout if McClain plays for the Ravens," tweeted The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "But as long as he's on their restricted list, can't totally close door."
McClain abruptly retired last May, about a month after signing with the Ravens, in order to get his life in order. He had been arrested three times in a span of 16 months, including 10 days after agreeing to a one-year deal with Ravens brass.
Even though the Ravens are in need of linebacker depth behind Daryl Smith, Arthur Brown, Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan, ESPN's Jamison Hensley is of the opinion that the Ravens should cut ties with the oft-troubled linebacker.
"The Baltimore Ravens need an inside linebacker. They don't need a headache," Hensley wrote. "It's clear that McClain isn't committed to the game, even after being away from the game for a year. So, why should the Ravens stay committed to McClain?"
Head Coach John Harbaugh recently said he would only be interested in McClain if he shows maturity, dedication and a strong work ethic. Harbaugh said if McClain isn't working hard, then he has "no interest" in him being on the team.
It's only April, and there is still plenty of time for McClain to get into shape and make the roster, but Hensley doesn't believe he deserves a third chance because he didn't "earn it."
"They could give him more time to train and see if he fares better next month before the offseason practices begin," Hensley wrote. "I just don't understand why the Ravens would do this. If McClain had shown up for a job interview unprepared and not on time, he's not going to get a second shot at that job.
"It's sad that a talented player* *such as McClain hasn't gotten his life on track yet. It's sad that McClain doesn't realize how many others would do anything for the opportunity he received Tuesday."
Ravens Looking For A 'Starting' Running Back
It's no secret the Ravens want to add running backs to their roster, but are they looking for more than just depth?
Harbaugh has said that as soon as the season ended, the team knew they wanted to add one or two backs behind Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. They added Justin Forsett earlier this month.
But after visiting the Under Armour Performance Center Monday afternoon, Breer is hearing the Ravens want more than backups, considering Rice's legal issues and potential league suspension.
"They're still looking for two running backs like they were earlier in the offseason, they just acknowledged now that one of those running backs may need to be their starter," Breer said on NFL Total Access.
After Breer told the news to his colleagues at the NFL Network, a panel of analysts speculated in the video below that former Titans running back Chris Johnson could be a good fit.
"W]e can't help but wonder about the biggest free-agent name left: Chris Johnson,” wrote Marc Sessler. “We've heard nothing linking Baltimore to CJ2K, who visited the Jets on Tuesday, but he's a [more tantalizing target than Michael Bush, Ronnie Brown or the rest of the league's available free agents."
Johnson said this week's visit with the New York Jets went well, but no agreement was made. It appears more likely that the Ravens will to look to the middle rounds of the draft to find their next running back.
"Put it all together, and Baltimore doesn't appear comfortable leaning on Rice as its bell-cow back in 2014," wrote Sessler. "Baltimore looms as a solid bet to mine May's draft for new blood."
UPDATE: Chris Johnson signed with the New York Jets Wednesday afternoon, according to ESPN.
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Ngata Offered 'Lucrative' Contract
With defensive tackle Haloti Ngata set to count as $16 million against the salary cap this year, it's no surprise to see various reports indicating the Ravens tried to get that number down.
Per Breer, the Ravens offered Ngata a "lucrative" long-term extension this offseason, similar to the one they agreed upon with Terrell Suggs.
In addition to a lower cap hit, the aim of the deal was to allow Ngata retire a Raven. The difference between Ngata and Suggs, however, is that Suggs only had one year left on his current deal whereas Ngata has two. Thus …
"No dice," tweeted NFL Network's Around The League.
Ravens Displaying 'Most Interest' In Michael Sam
The Ravens don't appear to be worried about the hubbub that could come with drafting the NFL's first openly-gay player.
Along with several other teams, Baltimore maintained contact with Missouri defensive end Michael Sam since the NFL Scouting Combine in March, according to The Sun's Aaron Wilson. The Ravens are among the teams that have displayed the "most interest" in Sam.
The other teams interested include the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, per Wilson.
The All-American selection notched 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for losses during his senior year. After an underwhelming combine performance, Sam bounced back with a strong pro day at Missouri. He is projected to the third round or later.
In their evaluations of Sam, the Ravens are more interested in him as a player and teammate, than what type of attention he could receive as an openly-gay athlete.
"He's been a good player, he's been in a locker room," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said at the combine. "It's what you, the media — what are you all going to do with him? Once he gets in and he can rush the quarterback and get the quarterback on the ground and make tackles, he's going to be a good teammate. The biggest thing is how the media is going to deal with him."
Pondering David Carr As Ravens QB
With Harbaugh recently revealing the Ravens are looking for another backup quarterback – and perhaps one that has worked with Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak – one option could be David Carr.
That's an idea Wilson is chewing on right now.
Carr started for Kubiak after he was hired as the head coach of the Houston Texans in 2006. Carr was the Texans' top overall pick in 2002, and has thrown for a total of 14,452 yards and 65 touchdowns over his 11-year career.
"Carr, 34, has been working out regularly with his younger brother, Derek Carr, as the Fresno State quarterback prepares for the NFL draft," Wilson wrote. "The younger Carr is a projected first-round draft pick.
"The Ravens have yet to make a move on Carr at this time, but he could make a lot of sense for them as a proven option to back up Joe Flacco."
- The Ravens ($52.3 million) and Browns ($55.8 million) are among the highest spenders in free agency in terms of guaranteed money. Baltimore's total includes re-signing of Dennis Pitta, which technically happened before free agency doors opened. [ESPN]
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- @gdowning14: Ozzie Newsome has made 18 first-round draft picks for the #Ravens. They have earned a combined 55 Pro Bowl selections. [Twitter]
- @ElamVsElo: With @DeionSanders at @FinishLine National Meeting. Proud to rep @UnderArmour!! #iwill [Twitter]
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