Ravens DT Michael Pierce Passes Conditioning Test, Says He Dropped 30 LBs Since Spring

Fourth-year defensive tackle Michael Pierce, working under a second-round restricted free agent tender, was looking for a new contract this year from the Baltimore Ravens. He skipped OTAs, and then he reported to mandatory minicamp so out of shape that the coaches removed him from the field for his own good.

He had the next several weeks to get himself right, and it initially appeared as though he may have failed to do that. He did start training camp on the Non-Football Injury List after failing to pass the team’s conditioning test, but he did pass it yesterday without missing any practice time. He spoke to reporters for the first time after that.

“I really apologize for letting them down”, he said in a video that was shared by ESPN beat writer Jamison Hensley via Twitter. “It has never been indicative of my character coming in out of shape, and I told them it won’t happen again”.

In an earlier Tweet, Hensley shared that Pierce lost approximately 30 pounds since mandatory minicamp, and had reported to the team’s training camp facilities weighing in at roughly 360 pounds. That’s still quite a hefty player, but apparently he was nearly tipping the scales at 400 pounds in June.

“I wasn’t diligent in my dieting. I wasn’t diligent in my conditioning”, Pierce confessed. “I was focusing more on lifting. But that’s a mistake I learned from. It really, really won’t happen again. That’s going to be my mission, to prove to the guys that I’m here to work”.

Originally signed by the Ravens as a college free agent out of Samford in 2016, Pierce turned out to be quite a find for the defensive line, pairing with Brandon Williams in the middle of that unit to help establish one of the strongest defensive interiors in the league, particularly against the run.

Despite being on the hefty side, he does have reasonable athleticism for a player of his size, which is why Baltimore is okay with having himself and Williams on the field at the same time. Neither of them are going to be dynamic pass-rushers, but they won’t be a hindrance, either.

In three seasons, Pierce has recorded 116 tackles with three sacks and two passes defensed. He had 35 tackles and two sacks in 2018 in 16 games, with one start. The year before, he started 13 of 16 games, registering a career-high 49 tackles and one sack.

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