Craig: McKinnie ignores the party, focuses on the ring

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 1, 2013 - 11:41 AM

 Former Viking Bryant McKinnie isn't tempted by all New Orleans has to offer, not with the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

NEW ORLEANS - The last time Bryant McKinnie left the Vikings practice field in Mankato, he literally had to waddle.

Considerably overweight and out of shape at the end of a long NFL lockout in August of 2011, he barely had the breath to speak as reporters walked with him for what would be his final moments in a Vikings uniform. Within 24 hours, he was released because of his physical condition and, he claims, for rejecting the team's request for him to take a pay cut.

"When I was leaving Mankato that day, I didn't know where I was going," McKinnie said. "I knew I was going to play again. But I didn't know where or what would happen."

McKinnie spoke those words from the floor of the Super- dome during Super Bowl XLVII media day Tuesday. He's still big -- listed at 6-8, 360 pounds -- but he's considerably lighter and obviously in better shape than he was in Mankato 18 months ago.

Oh yeah, he'll also start at left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens when they play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. He was a backup for all 16 regular-season games, but has been an unsung savior since stepping into the starting lineup in the playoffs.

Left guard Jah Reid went down because of a season-ending dislocated toe. So the Ravens moved right tackle Kelechi Osemele to left guard, left tackle Michael Oher to right tackle and brought McKinnie in off the bench.

"Bryant's been a great player in this league for a long time," said Ravens center Matt Birk, who also played with McKinnie for 11 seasons with the Vikings. "The left tackle position, obviously you know how to block guys one-on-one in the pass. Everyone knows [49ers linebacker] Aldon Smith had a great year [19 1/2 sacks], so it'll be two great players going at it over there."

McKinnie has started 147 regular-season games and six in the postseason. A first-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2002, he started all but four games from 2003 until 2010.

McKinnie did no gloating when asked what it felt like to beat the Vikings to the Super Bowl since they released him.

"The Vikings probably will be here eventually, soon, sometime," McKinnie said. "... I'm in a new chapter in my life."

McKinnie ended up in Baltimore -- where he started all 16 games in 2011 -- because of his connections with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who plays mother hen to all fellow former University of Miami Hurricanes. So when a reporter asked McKinnie to name the greatest accomplishment of Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome's career, McKinnie bypassed Newsome's Hall of Fame career as a tight end and his ground-breaking status as the league's first African-American general manager.

"I'd say his greatest accomplishment is listening to Ray Lewis telling him to bring me here," McKinnie said.

McKinnie let out a hearty laugh as a reporter shifted gears, wanting to know if McKinnie, as a long-time NFL veteran, will be steering Baltimore's younger players away from the temptations presented by the New Orleans nightlife.

And, yes, that was an ironic question, considering McKinnie's many well-publicized transgressions off the field.

He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance for his role in the Vikings' seedy Love Boat scandal in 2005. The league fined him one game check ($41,000).

In February of 2008, he was arrested after a brawl outside a nightclub in Miami. He was accused of spitting in the face of a bouncer and later clubbing the same bouncer over the head with a heavy pole. McKinnie avoided a trial when a judge ordered him to complete 25 hours of community service and take anger management classes.

And McKinnie also was kicked off the NFC Pro Bowl squad in January of 2010, when the game was played in Miami. He said he withdrew because of an injury, but that was after he failed to show up for any of the practices.

"We'll have our meetings this week and we'll bring up the importance of guys [staying out of trouble]," McKinnie said. "Everybody has to realize what's at stake here. You don't know if you'll ever get back to this point ever again.

"Is it tempting being in New Orleans? I've been here before, but I've never been to the Super Bowl. So it's not tempting. What's more tempting is getting that Super Bowl ring."

Mark Craig • mark.craig@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Birk gives some thought to a lifetime of collisions

    Friday February 1, 2013

    Former Viking Matt Birk loves football, but once he's gone, he'll donate his brain to further study the game's side effects.

  • Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close