Another injury leaves Ravens’ tackle situation in jeopardy

Street Talk Another injury leaves Ravens’ tackle situation in jeopardy

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WESTMINSTER — Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Adam Terry was carted off the field Tuesday morning at McDaniel College, clutching his left leg and screaming in pain after tripping over running back Ray Rice and suffering a sprained left ankle.

It’s not believed to be a season-ending or a long-term injury for Terry, who was limping and struggling with his mobility prior to the injury. A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed that it was just a sprain, but it initially alarmed the Ravens because he had his left ankle surgically repaired in January.

“It’s not a major situation," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday night during his WBAL radio program. "It will take time to heal. He’ll be back."
Terry didn’t put any weight on the leg and was pounding his fist into the ground after getting hurt during the contact drill.

Now that starting tackles Terry and Jared Gaither are both sidelined, the Ravens have a crisis to deal with at a critical position. It was initially feared that Terry, who was filling in for Gaither at left tackle after shifting from the right, could be out for a long time.

"When you see a guy go to the training room, of course it hurts," center Jason Brown said. "You’re not just losing a teammate, you’re losing a brother and a friend.

"I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but, right now, we’re going hard and we want to go hard. It’s a consequence of the game."
Hours after the setback, Terry was on crutches at the team hotel before being outfitted with a walking boot.

When asked to discuss the injury, Terry replied with a smile: "I can’t really say what the situation is. I still have to undergo more tests. You should ask [trainer] Bill Tessendorf.”

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is already fielding exploratory calls from agents representing offensive tackles.

Newsome spent most of practice on his cell phone after talking with Harbaugh, who wasn’t made available to discuss the situation. The coach wasn’t scheduled to talk with reporters.

Through team spokesman Kevin Byrne, Newsome declined an interview request and deferred comment to Harbaugh.

One name immediately rumored as a potential link for Baltimore via a potential trade is Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Khalif Barnes, a former second-round draft pick whom the Ravens considered during the 2005 where they picked Terry in the second round.

Barnes is in the final year of his contract and is battling Richard Collier for a job. He was sentenced to six months probation and had his driver’s license suspended after pleading no contest last year to driving under the influence, writing a letter of apology to the arresting offer that he called a "KKK devil." He was fined by the Jaguars and underwent counseling.

There is no current action between the Ravens and Barnes.

The Ravens considered signing former Oakland Raiders tackle Barry Sims in June. However, he wanted a promise he would start and signed with the San Francisco 49ers instead.

It’s regarded as a thin tackle market populated by Stockar McDougle, Kyle Turley, Nat Dorsey, Jordan Black, Todd Steussie, Mike Rosenthal, Fred Miller and Barry Stokes.

Meanwhile, Gaither is out for at least a week with a sprained right ankle. He’s in a walking boot, but it’s not considered to be a long-term issue.

Mike Kracalik played first-team left tackle for the rest of practice with rookie third-round pick Oniel Cousins lining up at right tackle.

"I can’t say that we’re snakebit," Kracalik said. "It’s unfortunate. I think it’s one of those things that if you have a bad attitude about it, then more people are going to get hurt.

"I think the only way you can do it is to be upbeat about it. I personally am enjoying the opportunity. With the injury, I just have to be ready to play wherever they need me."

Signed as a free agent in 2006 out of San Diego State, Kracalik has the requisite size at 6-foot-8, 340 pounds. He was allocated by the Ravens to the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe and spent the past two years on the team’s practice squad.

Kracalik has diligently worked to improve his quickness. In college, he played left tackle, but has also played right tackle and guard.

"I think I’m 100 times better than when I first came into the NFL," Kracalik said. "This is my dream to make it.

"I think I’m a pretty intelligent guy. I know the offense really well. I have the speed when I need to use it."

Cousins is an intense former UTEP standout who displayed a nasty streak when he got into a few minicamp fights. The native of Jamaica is a converted defensive tackle who played soccer until he was a high school sophomore.

"Sometimes when you play hard, you get injured and everybody has to get ready, like coach Harbaugh says," Cousins said. "That’s why I’m preparing myself to play. I bring physicality to the table.”

Added Brown: "If you talk about the biggest improvement, it’s Oniel Cousins. Come preseason, he’ll be ready."

Depth is practically nonexistent behind Kracalik and Cousins as former college basketball player Joe Reitz and undrafted free agent Sean Dumford lined up at second-team left and right tackle, respectively.

Although there have been a high amount of injuries since launching a hard-hitting camp last week, Kracalik noted that tight end Quinn Sypniewski tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a non-contact minicamp.

"There’s no way to tell whether hitting more causes more injuries," Kracalik said.

It has definitely been a more physical approach than it was under former coach Brian Billick, who used to give players one day off per week. Harbaugh has yet to give the players a full day off.

The Ravens’ next day off is Aug. 8 following a preseason road game against the New England Patriots.

"We want to hit each other in the mouth," Brown said. "As far as holding back, right now, I’m not trying to hold back. I don’t think anyone is trying to hold back, either.

"The Patriots next week, you think they’re going to hold back? When we go against the Vikings or the Falcons, are they going to hold back? Hell, no."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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