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OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens acquired a potential contingency plan should they decide to not retain two-time Pro Bowl fullback Le’Ron McClain, signing veteran fullback Jason McKie to a one-year contract.
It’s an interesting development, especially considering that McClain recently altered his stance on possibly returning. He has lobbying the Ravens to keep him through a series of message on his Twitter account.
When players were cleaning out their lockers following their bitter playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers,, an emotional McClain predicted he wouldn’t be back and reinforced his history of complaints about not being more involved in the offense.
Now, McClain is hoping to return and posted a video blog Wednesday saying he was going to meet with his agent, Todd France in Atlanta to discuss his outlook.
“I’m meeting my agent, talk contract talk,” McClain said. “Just getting prepared for this offseason, getting pretty much amped up for this little period I’m about to go through. ..
“Ravens all the way, hopefully I’ll be back by next year doing my thing, running people over and punishing people like I do every Sunday. So, I’m looking forward to that.”
McClain was a restricted free agent last season, playing under a $2.396 million one-year tender.
Two years removed from generating a career-high 902 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, McClain only rushed for 85 yards last season on 28 carries with a 3.0 average per rush.
Depending upon how the collective bargaining agreement negotiations turn out, McClain could either be a restricted free agent again whom the Ravens can hold onto by assigning him a tender or an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team.
McKie was cut prior to the Ravens’ playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers as they promoted offensive guard Bryan Mattison due to concerns about center Matt Birk’s knee.
A ninth-year professional, McKie was signed during the regular season when McClain sprained his ankle.
However, the 5-foot-11, 247-pound former Chicago Bears starter never appeared in a game.
McKie was the Bears starter for four years and was signed to a five-year contract, but was cut last March after seven years with the team and two years remaining on his contract.
Signed by the Saints in May, McClain was cut in July and signed again in August before the team terminated his contract on Sept. 10
A former undrafted free agent from Temple, McKie entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.
He has previous stints with the New Orleans Saints, Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.
McKie has a reputation as a strong lead blocker, but isn’t much of an offensive threat running or catching the football.
McKie has rushed for 84 career yards and three touchdowns, averaging 2.9 yards per carry. He has caught 68 passes for 364 yards and three scores.
However, he could be a much less expensive alternative at fullback than McClain.
The Ravens were faced with a similar situation years ago with fullback Ovie Mughelli and they didn’t attempt to deter him from signing with the Atlanta Falcons.
Mughelli wound up signing a six-year, $18 million contract that included $5 million in guaranteed money, the richest fullback contract in NFL history at the time.