OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither is heading to the doctor’s office for a magnetic resonance imaging exam today for an injured foot that sidelined him for the final two days of minicamp.
Despite rampant trade rumors, that destination might be the only pending move for Gaither after being replaced on the left side by Michael Oher.
Unless the Buffalo Bills or other interested NFL teams significantly increase the ante in a trade proposal, then the Ravens are inclined to hold onto Gaither..
“Since the draft, we’ve had no trade offer worthy of serious consideration for any of our players,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
Team officials indicated that they aren’t starting trade discussions with NFL teams regarding Gaither.
Gaither spent the last two days in the training room receiving treatment, and he denied speculation that he was sitting out of practice on the instructions of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
And coach John Harbaugh said he didn’t get any indication that Gaither was sitting out because he’s unhappy with being shifted to right tackle. Gaither is an unsigned restricted free agent who was assigned a first-round tender.
“That’s not what he told me, he didn’t tell me that he was protesting or anything like that,” Harbaugh said. “We had a conversation about a lot of things like we always do. The reason he didn’t practice, based on what he told me, was the foot. And I think there’s an issue there.”
Gaither is scheduled to visit a foot specialist this week. He dealt with foot and toe injuries last season as well as a neck injury.
Harbaugh said that Gaither was unable to complete the Ravens’ first minicamp practice Friday due to problems with his foot and his toe.
Gaither didn’t complain of any injury or appear to be in any discomfort during an extensive interview where he seemed to accept the position change.
“I think it just got kind of worn out and sore,” Harbaugh said. “He didn’t feel like he could go the rest of the time. That’s what I know and that’s what he said, and that’s where it stands.”
NGATA OUT UNTIL TRAINING CAMP: Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata predicted he’ll return to practice in the next six to eight weeks following pectoral surgery after getting hurt during his first Pro Bowl.
Normally, the Pro Bowl is a laidback affair where the primary goal is to avoid injury.
"Definitely, yeah, it sucks," Ngata said. "I was actually trying not to hurt somebody else and hurt myself. Whatever, I just try to hurry up and get it done and get back into game shape."
Isn’t there supposed to be no serious contact in the league’s annual all-star game?
"Yeah, man, it’s messed up," Ngata said. "Nobody told me. I didn’t try to hurt anybody else and hurt myself."
Ngata said that his left pectoral has regained full range of motion.
“I feel great,” Ngata said. “I’ve got full range of motion already. I’m just building the strength and getting back into it.”
McGAHEE STAYING POSITIVE: Backup running back Willis McGahee remains unconcerned about his status.
McGahee was the subject of trade rumors throughout this offseason because of the emergence of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice. Plus, he’s due a $3.45 million base salary in 2010.
Aware of the rumors, McGahee said he didn’t let them bother him.
"I heard them, it is what it is," McGahee said. "I wasn’t going to stress about it. If they trade me they trade me, if they don’t they don’t. I’m not worried."
A former Pro Bowl runner, McGahee rushed for a dozen touchdowns last season in a reserve role. He gained a career-low 544 yards on 109 carries, the fewest of his career.
Is he content with his role?
"The situation is what it is,” he said. I can’t control destiny. If I play, I play. If I don’t, I don’t. Right now, I learned the way of life: Don’t worry about it, just roll with the punches.”
NOT PRACTICING: Besides Ngata and Gaither, the Ravens had several other players not practicing.
That includes linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps surgery), wide receiver Mark Clayton (shoulder surgery), defensive tackle Lamar Divens (hip flexor surgery), nose guard Kelly Gregg (shoulder surgery), offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (knee), outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (shoulder surgery), nose guard Brandon McKinney and safety Marcus Paschal.
MAKING AN IMPRESSION: Veteran cornerback Travis Fisher had a strong tryout, good enough that he could be signed to the roster as soon as this week.
“He played well, he really looked good,” Harbaugh said. “Very solid player, good feet, good technician, works really hard, understands the game. Really picked the defense up quickly, and we threw a lot at him. Travis did a nice job.”
A former St. Louis Rams second-round pick, Fisher indicated that he wants to sign with the Ravens and has gotten positive feedback about his chances.
“It’s like a dream, not everybody can get a chance to play on a great defense like this,” Fisher said. “I feel very good about it. I’ll be waiting on a phone call. I was pretty much told already it will happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
QUICK HITS: Quarterback Joe Flacco had the top play of the day with a 40-yard scramble up the sideline before safety Tom Zbikowski caught up with him. However, Harbaugh said that Flacco had been sacked before he rumbled downfield. “It was a little bit of a fantasy there, but he is pretty fast actually,” Harbaugh said. “He’s covering more ground than you think.”The Ravens dealt with gusty conditions as they wrapped up their minicamp. “We’ll have to throw the ball in the wind at some point, so that helped our defense a little bit,” Harbaugh said. “We have three strong-armed guys and they threw pretty well in the wind.” … Wide receiver Demetrius Williams had a good minicamp, catching several long passes. … Inside linebacker Jason Phillips was moving around much better after spending his rookie season on injured reserve after having cartilage damage in his knee repaired. “I think we’re seeing a healthy Jason Phillips for the first time,” Harbaugh said. “Last year, he was really fighting the knee. He’s quick and slippery and a good football player.” … Reserve cornerback Cary Williams drew praise. “Cary Williams had a nice camp,” Harbaugh said. “He’s learning the defense and he’s got some physical ability.” … Tight end Ed Dickson will be allowed to participate in all of the Ravens’ minicamps unlike most players from Oregon who have to wait until after graduation to attend more than one minicamp. Dickson graduated last year with a degree in political science. University of Florida cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis was arrested in January on domestic violence and strangulation charges. He was accused of pinning his girlfriend against her will and trying to choke her. He was initially charged with two felony counts of domestic battery by strangulations, burglary, battery, false imprisonment and hindering communication to law enforcement. He ultimately pleaded no contest to two counts of criminal mischief and was given a year of probation. After going undrafted, Pierre-Louis tried out for the Ravens this weekend following a previous audition with the New York Giants. “What happened with me kind of hurts,” Pierre-Louis said. “Teams have asked me about it. Yeah, I learned from it. I just want to work hard and do whatever I can to help the team out.”
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.