OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce's first appearance of the spring ended abruptly Tuesday when he was sent off the field at mandatory minicamp for a lack of conditioning.
Pierce, a restricted free agent, didn't attend any offseason practices and looked much heavier than his listed playing weight of 340 pounds. Following the stretching portion of practice, Pierce left the field after speaking with coach John Harbaugh.
"He's not ready to practice from a safety standpoint and for his own health," Harbaugh said. "We recognize that and pulled him off."
Pierce, 26, ranked as the fifth-best interior defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus last season. Considered one of the better run defenders in the NFL, Pierce received a second-round tender this offseason and will earn about $3 million.
He signed as an undrafted rookie out of Samford in 2016, and his weight had previously never been a major issue. This is an important year for Pierce, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. But his season didn't start smoothly.
"He's not ready for this practice yet," Harbaugh said. "I think you could probably tell."