OWINGS MILLS — Sliding to his left quickly, Bryant McKinnie beat Paul Kruger to the punch and prevented him from pressuring quarterback Joe Flacco.
It was a practiced, fluid motion that the massive Baltimore Ravens’ left offensive tackle performed with relative ease during an organized team activity.
As a regular participant in the Ravens’ offseason conditioning program, McKinnie appears lighter on his feet and in his body.
"I’m glad I’m here so I can go through this now instead of what happened last year," McKinnie said. "Last year, I felt like I was on Celebrity Fit Club."
The 6-foot-8 former Pro Bowl blocker said he’s down to 358 pounds with a target goal of getting down to 345 pounds.
"He’s been working really hard," Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "He has been around here most of the time. Conditioning has been a paramount priority, and he has done a good job. We’ll just have to see how he does as we go forward. I think he’ll do well.”
A year ago, McKinnie bulked up to nearly 400 pounds during the NFL lockout and was cut by the Minnesota Vikings.
The Ravens signed McKinnie before the start of the regular season and he started every game, playing his way into shape.
And McKinnie pledged to general manager Ozzie Newsome in March that he would get into better shape prior to the Ravens picking up a $500,000 roster bonus. So far, he has lived up to his word.
"I’ve been working and trying to stay active, and I didn’t have much time off since we actually have an offseason," McKinnie said. "That helps out a lot. I came back here and have been participating in a big majority of what’s going on here.
"When I came up here in March he said to show commitment and I’ll stay committed to you. I feel like I need to take part, and it helps me."
McKinnie is in town working out under the supervision of the coaching staff and strength coaches roughly four days per week.
During the latter months of the NFL work stoppage last year, McKinnie said he began putting on some bad weight.
He was spending a lot of time working on his music label, keeping late hours supervising artists in the studio.
The combination of eating late at night, not eating healthy foods, and training on his own caught up with him.
"It was freestyle," McKinnie said. "I think I was good up until around this point. Then, I realized we might not be practicing. It kind of tapered off. I started getting too focused on the music side, and in the studio. You know, artists work different hours. You work at night time, you’re in there, you’re hungry, you’re eating. You end up putting on weight by changing up your hours like that."
McKinnie is hoping to maintain his strength by not losing too much weight.
And he wants to change the conversation to focus on his game, not his bulk.
"That’s one thing I want to make sure I still have is the power," McKinnie said. "I don’t want to be too light. At the same time, that should help me bend more, too. So more technique will come into play."
"I just want to be able to feel good. My whole career my weight was never an issue until last year. I just want to get that back under control and then move on."