OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie is back in town and will report to training camp today after arriving at BWI Airport this afternoon.
The former Pro Bowl blocker told 24×7 after his flight that his absence was due to a lower back injury suffered during an accident at his home in South Florida last week where he said he fell and twisted his lower back.
McKinnie missed the first four days of training camp and was placed on the reserve/did not report list, incurring daily $30,000 fines under the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
"Of course, I’m glad to be back," said McKinnie, who appeared to be lighter than he was in June when he weighed roughly 354 pounds. "I’m kind of disappointed, though. I’ve been training hard, I’ve been boxing and doing all this stuff. To have a setback like this is disappointing.
"Why isn’t anybody saying I got hurt? I don’t know what people thought was going on. How I got hurt is running out of the house. It was slippery and I fell and hurt my lower back. You can’t be playing football when your back is hurting. When I fell, I said, ‘I know I ain’t going out like this.’"
McKinnie said his back was a bit stiff after his flight, but he appeared to be walking normally without difficulty and was hefting his own luggage.
McKinnie emphasized that he thinks he could begin practicing this week.
"I think I could be back on the field soon," he said. "It don’t hurt like it did when I first did it."
McKinnie said he had his chiropractor immediately contact the Ravens training staff.
Since suffering the injury, McKinnie said he’s been getting treatment, including applying heat, getting massages and stretching.
That lower back you can’t be playing football when your back is hurting. I fell and I said, ‘I know I ain’t going out like this.’ I didn’t know if I needed X-rays or what. I put heat on it got massages stretched it out my hamstrings and calves. I would go in and get treatment and at night a lady would give me a massage."
What’s next for McKinnie is reporting to the Ravens’ training complex to have his back checked out and doing the conditioning test. McKinnie was held out of a mandatory minicamp in June due to conditioning issues and assigned a target weight of 345 pounds for training camp.
When asked how much he weighs currently, McKinnie replied: "I’m about to find out right now. I’m probably under 350, but I’ve been out for about four days. So, that makes a difference."
Cut by the Minnesota Vikings last year after beefing up to 387 pounds during the NFL lockout, McKinnie signed a two-year contract with the Ravens last August.
He’s due a $3.2 million base salary this year and was paid a $500,000 roster bonus in March after pledging to general manager Ozzie Newsome that he would get into shape.
McKinnie said he’s hoping to put the focus surrounding him back on football instead of about his weight issues. McKinnie has also made headlines for financial matters, including a $4.5 million lawsuit stemming from a loan taken out during the NFL work stoppage last year.
"Yes, I don’t want everybody talking about me," McKinnie said. "I had an accident. I’m over it. I’m here to play football. I’m ready to have a good season. I’m in some of my best shape ever, so let’s get to work."