Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce was hoping to find long-term security this offseason. A restricted free agent, he sat out the team's offseason conditioning program and voluntary practices as leverage but had to settle for a one-year free agent tender.
Unfortunately, that showed when he arrived at minicamp heavier than his playing weight of 340 pounds and had to be sent off the field due to a lack of conditioning.
The coaching staff is still confident that Pierce will be back in playing shape soon, but it’s quite a concern for a player looking to land his first big deal. Over the weekend, Pierce spoke to WNSP in his home state of Alabama and owned up to the mistake.
“At the end of the day, you expect a team leader to come back in better shape than I did,” Pierce said on Friday, via ESPN. “That's a mistake on my behalf I have to correct. I don't want to get into much more than that.”
If you’re wondering how Pierce ended up in such bad shape six months after the team’s last game, Pierce attributed that to his workout regimen at home.
“Throughout the offseason, I tend to lift more than run,” Pierce said. “Being a nose guard, I want to be strong or whatnot. I, honestly, just mismanaged my running a little bit.”
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) June 11, 2019
Pierce will have plenty of time to get back into shape before training camp starts on July 21, and he has a much clearer picture of what head coach John Harbaugh is looking for. The fourth-year lineman may have felt good enough, but the coaching staff wants him to run more “from a safety standpoint and for his own health.”
It would be a shock for the Ravens to hold Pierce out from actual games considering how valuable he’s been stopping the run. Although he only started two games last season, Pro Football Focus rated him as the fifth-best interior defensive lineman in the league.
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