The starting cornerback had missed the first 11 days of practice while grieving the death of Harry Rolle, who died of a sudden heart attack. Rolle didn’t practice due to needing to take and pass a physical.
Rolle was so anxious to rejoin his teammates after taking a dawn flight from South Florida that he got dressed in his full uniform for practice, but team officials informed him that he needed to be cleared medically first.
"He’s excited and ready to go," coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s in great spirits in terms of being back with his teammates."
Rolle is expected to participate in practice today, albeit on a limited basis as he works his way into game shape. He didn’t speak with reporters Monday, but may conduct interviews after this morning’s practice.
Rolle had recently traveled with his father to the Bahamas to research the family tree.
"Just to be around the guys after what he’s been through with his father passing away, you can get your mind off of things a little bit where you can laugh and joke," said wide receiver Derrick Mason, who has been friends with Rolle for several years. "But in the back of your mind, the death of your father is still there. You try to kind of subdue it a little bit with the laughter amongst your teammates. It’s good to have him back.
"You just try to encourage him and, more than anything, know that his mom is doing okay. A lot of people forget about the other people that it affected, but we’ve been praying for Samari’s mother and family as well."
Rolle sprinted off the field at McDaniel College, breaking into a big smile earlier when he greeted Harbaugh and teammates with hugs.
Although Harbaugh predicted that he would practice in the afternoon session, Rolle ran on his own on the side.
"It’s awesome," cornerback Chris McAlister said. "Just seeing his face, it kind of makes him feel like things are back to normal. Without him out there, you just feel like something’s missing.
"Now, it’s completely natural. Once he puts his pads on, it will be a good time."
INJURY UPDATE: McAlister’s right knee is swollen and a large ice pack was applied to it halfway through practice. It’s noticeably puffier than his left knee.
Although McAlister insisted that he’s not hurt and he didn’t appear to be in severe pain while walking around the team hotel, he was held out of the afternoon practice.
Heap’s calf is no longer wrapped and he’s not favoring the leg much.
Ngata worked on the side without a knee brace, performing individual drills.
Rookie offensive tackle Oniel Cousins practiced for the first time without restrictions since injuring his right knee.
Defensive tackle Justin Bannan and linebacker Edgar Jones returned to practice.
Linebackers Bart Scott (left thigh) and Gary Stills (undisclosed) and cornerbacks David Pittman (foot) and Fabian Washington (leg) didn’t practice in the afternoon. Stills has a history of knee problems.
Offensive tackle Joe Reitz’s left shoulder is still bothering him some.
"They came out and they were a little tired," Harbaugh said. "Their legs are tired, but they fought through it."
DOUBLE-DUTY: A former college basketball player at Western Michigan, Reitz took some snaps at tight end.
Reitz played tackle at minicamp until being converted to tackle.