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Baltimore Ravens: Is Bryant McKinnie a Changed Man?

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COMMENTARY | Perhaps one of the most important roster moves the Baltimore Ravens made this offseason to ensure a chance at another Super Bowl run was the re-signing of left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

After two years in Baltimore, the 12-year veteran became an unrestricted free agent and hit the open market. Despite visits with a multitude of teams, McKinnie was unable to reach a deal anywhere but Baltimore, and he eventually returned to the Ravens on May 2.

Despite starting every game in 2011 and being one of the Ravens' most consistent linemen that season, McKinnie found himself on the sideline for the majority of the 2012 season.

After reporting to camp overweight, something that has repeatedly haunted him throughout his time in Baltimore, McKinnie lost his spot in the starting rotation. He was active for all 16 regular season games, but started none.

Perhaps McKinnie's season-long situational role was a bit harsh, and ultimately head coach John Harbaugh realized that McKinnie was simply too valuable to the team to let a personal grudge get in the way.

In the week prior to the Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts, McKinnie was reinserted into the starting lineup. During Baltimore's four-game Super Bowl run in the postseason, McKinnie's presence noticeably took the team's offensive line to the next level.

Between McKinnie's added talent and Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele's moves back to more natural positions, the Ravens' offensive line was nothing short of stellar during the postseason.

Now with a new contract and an increased role with the team, could McKinnie finally break away from the conditioning problems that have haunted him during his time in Baltimore?

According to BaltimoreRavens.com, McKinnie has more motivation than last season and is ready to help lead the Ravens to another Super Bowl title.

Of course, it is all talk with McKinnie right now until training camp arrives. But if he can manage his weight between now and the beginning of training camp, he can avoid staying out of Harbaugh's doghouse while helping the Ravens have one of the NFL's premier offensive lines.

Only time will tell whether or not McKinnie has finally turned the corner in Baltimore, but so far, he is off to a good start.

Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He maintains his own football site, End Zone Report, and contributes to Russell Street Report, a Baltimore Ravens blog.

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