OWINGS MILLS — After choosing not to attend voluntary organized team activities, Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce reported to mandatory minicamp too out of shape to practice.
Pierce took the field briefly while players stretched prior to the start of practice Tuesday. After a conversation with head coach John Harbaugh, Pierce returned inside the Under Armour Performance Center and did not appear again for the remainder of practice.
“He’s not ready to practice, just from a safety standpoint, for his own health and safety,” Harbaugh said. “We recognized that, and we pulled him off for that reason.”
Pierce played last season listed at 340 pounds, but appeared heavier Tuesday than he did last year. Pro Football Focus ranked the run-stuffing defensive tackle as the highest-rated player on Baltimore’s No. 1-ranked defense.
The former undrafted free agent is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season. The Ravens signed him to a second-round tender this offseason, meaning he is set to make about $3 million.
“It’s a problem. Absolutely,” Harbaugh said. “We want guys practicing. We want them ready to practice, physically able to practice. That’s very important.”
Players must pass a conditioning test in order to participate in training camp. Harbaugh said most of the team has already passed it, though it is not a requirement to take part in minicamp.
“For this practice out here, we don’t hold them to quite that standard,” Harbaugh said. “But he’s not ready for that practice yet. You can probably tell.”
Kick returner and cornerback Cyrus Jones was one of just four players absent from the first mandatory minicamp Tuesday. He had not participated in any organized team activities either.
“He has a health issue. It’s not for me to describe it exactly, but he’s not allowed to practice right now. He had, kind of, an episode a few months ago,” Harbaugh said. “He’s not cleared to practice at this time because of that. We do expect him back for training camp, as far as I’ve been told, but I think there are tests and things like that that he has to pass.”
The Ravens signed Jones in October of last season. He immediately became the team’s primary kick returner and ran a punt back 70 yards for a touchdown during a Nov. 25 win over the Oakland Raiders.
The other three players who did not practice were 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown (foot), offensive lineman Alex Lewis (shoulder) and guard Patrick Mekari.
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