The Sports Daily > Ravens Football Machine
Of beached whales and tight ends at Ravens TC 2013…

I shouldn't be surprised that Bryant McKinnie reported to camp overweight—again—but this time I'm disappointed, because I've really been shilling hard for the Ravens to keep the guy around.

Reporter Kyle Casey has been inside the ropes at "The Castle" the past few days and witnessed the debacle:

"In the least surprising news of the 2013 NFL season so far, Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie reportedly showed up to training camp overweight. That marks three consecutive years that the veteran arrived to training camp out of shape and overweight, and at this point it should just be expected that he'll show up to camp overweight every year."

"McKinnie's weight issues led to head coach John Harbaugh opting to make him sit out practice on Thursday. On Friday, McKinnie was back on the practice field, although not for long."

"He couldn't finish the practice as he continues to deal with fitness issues. While this is something that is typical of McKinnie, the Ravens can't afford for him to not be ready for the season, as moving Michael Oher back to left tackle again is less than ideal."

It's kinda funny in a way because McKinnie, whether he knows it or not, hearkens back to the old "black and white TV" days of the original NFL, when guys would basically use training camp for the express purpose of getting into shape.

Now you're expected to be in top form when you report to camp. It's a full time job in the NFL now…

There was some positive news so far…..

Visanthe Shiancoe may be coming home to Baltimore to play tight end.

Well, okay, maybe that's not  all that huge a deal. Shiancoe had some nice moments with the Vikings, but he's probably not going to be an impact player at TE.

The Ravens are hosting Shiancoe and reportedly interested in signing him.

The bad news for Shiancoe, who played locally at Morgan State U., is that if Vonta Leach comes back to the Ravens as their fullback after testing the waters of free agency, the team will be overloaded with TE prospects.

Shiancoe appeared in just four games with the New England Patriots in 2012, and is more notable for his time with the Minnesota Vikings. The Ravens don't necessarily need a tight end right now, however, as Billy Bajema and Matt Furstenburg are vying for the third tight end spot.

If the Ravens re-sign Leach, then rookie fullback/receiver Kyle Juszczyk may take the third tight end spot on the roster, further removing the need for another tight end.

Then again, there's always the injury factor to consider. Shiancoe would be a nice back-up option.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens remain engaged in contract talks with Leach, and while an expected deal didn't occur on Friday, it should within the next few days. It appears as if the Ravens are the only team with an offer on the table above the veteran minimum, which makes it all but certain he'll return to Baltimore for one more year.

Thanks for the updates from Kyle Casey.

Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He maintains his own football site, End Zone Report, and is the editor of Cat Crave.

UPDATE —-  SUNDAY, JULY 28, 2013: TE DENNIS PITTA OUT FOR SEASON  with hip injury…

And just like that, almost on cue with this article, the Ravens lost their #1 tight end for the year…

 Dennis Pitta is undergoing surgery and will miss the entire 2013 season after fracturing his hip in practice on Saturday.

Pitta was carted off the field after colliding with safety James Ihedigbo in the back of the end zone vying for a pass from Joe Flacco. The receiver lay prone for several minutes before the cart arrived.

The Ravens begin defense of their Super Bowl title on Sept. 5 in Denver.

After practice, a somber Harbaugh said, "Dennis has a dislocated hip. We'll have to take a look at that and see exactly what it is. It's a serious injury. He is going to be out for a while. He will not be in the Denver game and we'll just have to play it from there to see how long it goes."

Pitta was preparing for his fourth season with Baltimore. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

In the playoffs, Pitta had 14 catches for 163 yards and three scores.

With Pitta gone, the Ravens are without their two of their most productive receivers last year. Pitta's 61 catches were tied for second with Ray Rice behind Anquan Boldin, who was traded to San Francisco during the offseason.

"Obviously, he was a very, very productive guy for us," Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said of Pitta. "He made a lot of big plays last year. We'll see what happens. But somebody is going to have to step up. We do have some capable guys all across the flanks. We do have some weapons. We're just going to have to have some guys make some plays for us."

In his first three NFL seasons, Pitta had 102 receptions for 1,075 yards and 10 touchdowns over 43 regular-season games.

And suddenly, the Visanthe Shiancoe job interview with the Ravens becomes more relevant.