Late-arriving Ravens gather for 1st practice

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh finally got his full team

together on the football field, and still he wasn’t happy.

That’s because the Ravens were slow to arrive on the field

Thursday after practice was pushed back 3 1/2 hours to allow NFL

players to sign off on a new 10-year collective bargaining

agreement.

”There were a couple guys that took a little longer to get

dressed than I would have expected,” Harbaugh said after the

three-hour session ended in the twilight. ”But they know me, I

know them. We get each other.”

Minutes after players ratified the new CBA, the Ravens filed out

of the team complex onto the practice field. Harbaugh stood with

his arms crossed as the players trickled out of the building.

Rookie linebacker Josh Bynes walked slowly toward the field,

adjusting his pads, until Harbaugh yelled, ””A little sense of

urgency, Josh!”

Offensive tackle Marshal Yanda signed a five-year contract last

week but was restricted from practicing before the CBA was

approved. He hit the field before 5 o’clock.

But linebacker Prescott Burgess, who signed last week, was one

of the last to arrive. At least he sprinted onto the field.

Finally, after newcomer Bernard Pollard shuffled out of the

building, the horn blew at 5:06.

The deal added more than a dozen players to a roster that was

previously too thin to mount three units on each side of the

ball.

”It was good to have everybody back,” Harbaugh said. ”We were

able to bring a line in for every period, and we appreciated

that.”

Pollard, a standout safety with Houston who signed a two-year

deal, made an immediate impression. So did fullback Vonta Leach,

who signed as a free agent earlier in the week.

”I’d like to welcome Bernard here,” Harbaugh said. ”Wow, this

guy comes out and has two huge hits in the backfield on pass rushes

and kind of established himself. And Vonta got after it and had

some big collisions out there. It was good to see the new guys in

the mix, plus all the guys who hadn’t been able to practice for the

last week or so.”

Linebacker Tavares Gooden, who signed last week but was forced

to watch, was delighted to be back in pads.

”It felt good, I was able to release some frustration,” he

said. ”It was fun being out there. I hated to see my teammates out

there working hard and I couldn’t be out there.”

It was, however, worth the wait.

”Yeah, they had to make sure both sides were equally favored.

That’s what we were waiting on,” Gooden said. ”We’re all happy

they were able to get that deal done today.”