WESTMINSTER — Willis McGahee doesn’t look like he should be on the physically unable to perform list.
One year after admittedly showing up to training camp out of shape, the Baltimore Ravens’ running back was sporting a leaner physique as he dashed around the field with no shirt on Tuesday after the team opened training camp.
The Ravens are taking precautionary measures with McGahee’s surgically-repaired knee after he underwent arthroscopic surgery this offseason even though the former Pro Bowl runner hasn’t complained about any pain or swelling.
Nonetheless, the Ravens held him out of the first practice of camp at McDaniel College just to be cautious about his knee.
“We want to make sure Willis’ knee doesn’t swell up," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We want to make sure he can take the pounding of a workout and see how he responds."
McGahee might be cleared to practice as soon as today.
One year removed from a career-low season with 671 rushing yards, McGahee showed up nearly a half-hour before practice to get in some extra work.
A year ago, McGahee needed to have knee surgery after a few sluggish practices.
"I’m looking forward to this season," McGahee said. "It’s going to be a good season. I can feel it in my bones."
The Ravens are impressed by McGahee’s conditioning with Harbaugh emphasizing that he looked very good during a running test and noting that the former 1,200-yard rusher had gained some muscle in his lower body.
“I’d say so far, so good,” Harbaugh said. “He looks like he’s done a good job.”
Meanwhile, the Ravens also placed the following players on the PUP list: offensive tackles Adam Terry (knee) and Joe Reitz (shoulder), cornerback Samari Rolle (groin/shoulder), wide receiver Yamon Figurs (foot), offensive guards Marshal Yanda (knee) and Ben Grubbs (ankle) and defensive tackle Lamar Divens (undisclosed).
Linebacker Jason Phillips (lateral meniscus) and tight end Davon Drew (failed conditioning test) were placed on the non-football injury list.
“I can’t practice until I pass the test,” Drew said. “I was close, but I missed it. I’m right there.”
Under NFL regulations, the Ravens can activate a player from the PUP list during the preseason. However, a player that remains on the list to begin the regular season would be forced to miss at least the first six weeks of the season.
“Most of it is temporary,” Harbaugh said. “We want to make sure that guys can practice. That’s the bottom line.”
SADDENED: The death of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson following a battle with skin cancer deeply affected Harbaugh, who worked alongside Johnson for several years in Philadelphia
“I loved Jim Johnson,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “This is a sad day for so many people who were touched by this great man. Jim was a tremendous teacher of football and life.
"He made me believe I could coach at this level. For me, he was a father type mentor and, above all, a cherished friend. I will miss him so much.”
ROSTER MOVES: The Ravens signed diminutive wide receiver Jayson Foster, a 5-foot-7, 175-pounder who has previous stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins’ practice squads.
As a senior at Georgia Southern two years ago, Foster won the Walter Payton award as the top Division I-AA offensive player.
The Ravens cut rookie wide receiver Isaiah Williams, a former University of Maryland player, and waived injured offensive tackle Lou Saucedo a few hours after he was placed on the PUP list.
LOOKING AROUND: Harbaugh indicated that the Ravens have held internal discussions about troubled players like quarterback Michael Vick and wide receiver Matt Jones.
However, there’s zero evidence that Baltimore is actually interested in acquiring either player.
“We have definitely explored those two options, and we’ve explored numerous other options,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve had a long discussion about Michael Vick and we have our feeling of how he would impact our team or not impact our team.
“We have a feeling of where Matt Jones could or couldn’t fit into our team. And that would go for Amani Toomer and Justin McCareins and every other player out there that you guys are thinking about. We’ve talked about guys at length.”
There hasn’t been any interest from the Ravens at this point regarding Toomer, McCareins, Jones and Koren Robinson. There have been a few rumors recently about Robert Ferguson, but nothing concrete.
Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn has been lobbying the Ravens for a tryout.
STILL NO DEAL: Rookie first-round draft pick Michael Oher’s contract holdout is up to one day and counting.
However, a five-year deal is still expected to be completed at some point this week. Oher is projected as the Ravens’ starting right tackle.
“It already has started to hamper his ability,” Harbaugh said. “We think that every day is important. We want every guy here every single day.
"There are other issues involved. The sooner Michael gets in, the better he’s going to be and the better team we’re going to be. I know Michael Oher wants to be here.”
QUICK HITS: Harbaugh took a bit of umbrage at the suggestion that the absence of Mason has deprived quarterback Joe Flacco of his security blanket. “Joe doesn’t need a security blanket”, Harbaugh said. “Joe’s a big boy. He’s going to be the very best quarterback that he can be in his second year, and whoever’s out there catching the ball for Joe is going to be real happy he’s throwing it to him.” … Tight end L.J. Smith was able to participate in some drills as he recovers from a surgical procedure following a sports hernia two years ago. “L.J. looked good out there,” Harbaugh said. … Rookie wide receiver Eron Riley didn’t practice due to an undisclosed injury. .. Harbaugh commented on wide receiver Biren Ealy, who wasn’t at practice Tuesday after being signed Monday. “I have no thoughts on him right now,” Harbaugh said. “He had a very good workout. He looked like he could run, he showed good hands and he could get through a Cam Cameron workout.” … Nose guard Kelly Gregg, who was sidelined last season after undergoing microfracture knee surgery, practiced without restrictions. “The one thing about Kelly is he’s so excited to be here and he’s really moving good,” defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. “I think he got all the cobwebs off.” … Flacco knocked down two clay pigeons at a shooting range in a Reebok commercial. Was it real or a case of special effects? “You be the judge,” Flacco said. “Do you think I need special effects? Whatever you think. I’ll leave it up to your imagination. ” Flacco admitted that it took more than one take to complete the commercial shoot, which lasted about an hour.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.