In his first year with the Baltimore Ravens, Bryant McKinnie did exactly what the team was hoping he would do in 2011.
McKinnie, 32, started all 18 games this season at left tackle, and he’s ready for another season in the Charm City.
“I feel like I’ll be better next year,” McKinnie said Monday, via BaltimoreRavens.com. “I just want to make sure it’s a bright future, so I’m going to prepare myself to do better things next season.”
After nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, the six-foot-eight, 360 pound, McKinnie signed a two-year deal with the Ravens this past preseason. The Vikings reportedly cut him over concerns about his weight, but McKinnie dropped a lot of that weight when he first arrived to Baltimore and promptly moved into the starting lineup just two weeks after signing with the Ravens.
When Baltimore signed McKinnie, Michael Oher moved back to right tackle, where started every game this season and held his own.
The Ravens are expected to keep those two in their respective positions next season and Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda will be back at right guard, but there are still major questions about the other two spots on the offensive line.
Left guard Ben Grubbs will become a free agent at the end of the league year in March, while center Matt Birk is contemplating retirement. Baltimore may very well be looking to replace two of their five starters along the offensive line.
Regardless, McKinnie said he could see himself in a Ravens jersey for years to come.
“Yeah I could, as long as I stay fresh,” McKinnie said. “I’ve been blessed to be able to make it through 10 seasons without any major injuries and not missing a game, so I’m going to keep fighting and keep going.”