OWINGS MILLS — With the conditioning test finally conquered Friday morning, Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie were activated and practiced for the first time since arriving at training camp.
Ngata had been sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained when he first attempted the conditioning test, a series of timed running intervals. He’s now off the physically unable to perform list.
McKinnie told 24×7 when he reported last Sunday that he injured his lower back prior to the veteran reporting date last Wednesday. He was initially placed on the reserve/did not report list and then shifted to the non-football injury list.
McKinnie passed the conditioning test narrowly with a diving effort at the end, according to coach John Harbaugh.
“It’s a tough test,” Harbaugh said. “You have to be in shape to pass that test, so congratulations to those guys.”
The 6-foot-8, 354-pound McKinnie was limited to individual drills Friday, the same workload that Ngata participated in as the coaching staff eased them back into practice.
Harbaugh said after two days of getting acclimated both players are expected to take part in a full practice Monday.
The Ravens picked up a $500,000 roster bonus for McKinnie in March after he promised general manager Ozzie Newsome that he would get into shape.
McKinnie, who started every game last season for Baltimore after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings last year when he reported at 387 pounds, was held out of a mandatory minicamp in June due to conditioning issues.
“It means a lot,” Harbaugh said when asked about the significance of getting back two starters. “Of course, Bryant is a guy that has played a lot of football for his career, but also for us last year. He is competing right in there with the rest of the guys. He can be a big part of us, and has been.”
McKinnie said he bulked up during his convalescence from the lower back injury, which he said occurred when he slipped on a wet surface at his South Florida home.
Of the back injury McKinnie reported to team officials through his chiropractor, Harbaugh said: "Yes, the back is cleared up."
When he arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, McKinnie said he wants to put the focus surrounding him back on football, not on his weight or other issues that have included a $4.5 million lawsuit for a loan he took out during the NFL lockout last year.
“Yeah, I don’t want everybody talking about me,” said McKinnie, who’s due a $3.2 million base salary this season. “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.”
A three-time Pro Bowl selection who recorded 65 tackles and five sacks last season, Ngata appears significantly heavier than he was last season when he got down to 335 pounds.
He’s listed at 6-foot-4, 340 pounds on the roster, but looks bigger than that.
Ngata appeared to have dropped some weight since minicamp when he had bulked up quite a bit, something he said he did by design to not wear down as he did last year when a bruised thigh slowed him down toward the end of the season.
“Of course, Haloti Ngata, his presence speaks for itself,” Harbaugh said.
Ngata had no sacks following his two-sack game on Thanksgiving against the San Francisco 49ers, and he recorded just three tackles in the Ravens’ two playoff games.
“I had a couple of problems, but I just didn’t feel probably just as powerful at the end of the season as what I usually feel,” Ngata said in June. “I just didn’t feel that strong. So, I think a little bit this year I’m going to probably try to get up on the weight a little bit just to help me with some of that power.
“I think being a little bit lighter kind of made me lose some of that power. I still feel the same. That’s the thing, though. I felt more, not as winded, but I’m so used to playing at this weight anyway. So, it shouldn’t be a problem.”