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Ravens Roost


May 12, 2010 5:21 PM

What's going on with Jared Gaither?

Coming out of the University of Maryland Jared Gaither had a reputation, and itGaither.jpg wasn't very flattering. It seems Gaither had problems getting motivated at times and certainly didn't enjoy practicing. His former coach at Maryland Ralph Friedgen told the Ravens front office that Gaither had motivation problems but thought he could overcome them with the right guidance. So, the Ravens looking at his size and the way he played (when motivated) decided to take a gamble on him and choose him in the 5th round of the NFL supplemental draft. From that point on it's been a roller coaster ride.


The Ravens wanted Gaither to fill some mighty big shoes, those of retired left tackle Johnathan Ogden. Gaither had comparable size but the team knew it would take years to find out if he could ever match Ogden's incredible level of play. During his first season Gaither seemed to change his behavior as he trained hard and concentrated on bringing his game to a higher level. It looked like he had finally grown up  and understood that playing football in the NFL wasn't just a game like it was in college but a job, a very tough job.

Gaither saw limited action in 2007 but the following year he was named the starting left tackle because the coaches thought he had earned the shot. He played well that season and the next, even playing hurt for a stretch during the end of the 2008 season showing remarkable fortitude. Things were looking up for Jared Gaither and the Ravens.

Last season Gaither missed five games due to neck and foot problems, and didn't seem to play with the same enthusiasm he had displayed the previous two years. It could have been attributable to his injuries, or maybe Gaither was slowly reverting back to his old ways. During this off season the team let it be known they were accepting offers for Gaither and only gave him a 1st round tender which many believe was meant to attract potential suitors. If any teams made a bid for Gaither it must have been far too low as Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said that there wasn't any real interest for Gaither out there in the market.

Being a restricted free agent, and having Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, Gaither decided to skip the work outs at the Ravens training facility as a way of letting the team know he wanted to be signed to a new lucrative deal. Well that didn't sit well with Ravens head coach John Harbaugh who let it be known that Gaither wasn't helping his cause but rather hurting it instead. Gaither decided to attend the work outs but it may have changed Harbaugh's opinion of him. Face it, Harbaugh is known to have a doghouse just ask former Raven Chris McAlister  or Willis McGahee.

When the first OTA  (organized team activity) began last week Gaither found himself suddenly switched to right tackle, a move I'm sure he didn't see coming. After the first practice Gaither took himself out and said he was having foot problems once again. He would miss the final two days of practice as a result.

Now this is where you have to ask yourself just what is going on. Did the Ravens decide to move Gaither to right tackle as a way of trying to re- motivate him? Did they make the move because they don't want to sign him to a big money deal that left tackles usually get, or do they think Michael Oher will be a better left tackle than Gaither? 

Is Gaither really having problems with his foot or is he using it as a way to let the team know he doesn't appreciate the demotion, and the lost chance at a big money deal? Knowing how Rosenhaus operates it wouldn't surprise me if he told Gaither to fake the injury, but the team is making him have an MRI done on his foot, which could determine if he is being truthful about his injury. Well, even if the MRI comes back negative it doesn't mean that he doesn't really have pain in his foot as these tests can only divulge certain ailments.

Looking from the outside in I see this years Ravens as having a legitimate shot at going to the Super Bowl, and I think their odds are better if they have Jared Gaither on the team, as back up Oniel Cousins doesn't seem to be ready to be an every down player. I'm not sure what's going on here but I'd bet there is more to this scenario then meets the eye. 

 

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