The Baltimore Ravens' training camp has now come and gone, and still no sign of Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister.
McAlister did not report to camp to protest being named the franchise player for the second year in a row; he would like a long-term contract. He cannot report until he signs his one-year, $7.1 million tender, and he cannot be fined for missing practices because he isn't under contract.
Coach Brian Billick indicated Tuesday that he would like McAlister to report in the next week or so, saying it is unrealistic to think that McAlister could join the team during the week leading up to the Sept. 12 season opener at Cleveland and then play a 65-snap game.
"That would not be in his best interests. It wouldn't be in our best interests," Billick said in his final training camp news conference at McDaniel College. "So, having said that, obviously, it's our hope that he'll come in in time to get himself adequately prepared for the opener. Whether that means snaps in the last preseason game [Sept. 2] or not, that's secondary to me, as compared to a cumulative amount of time, to make sure he's physically in the right spot. I have no doubt he's in shape."
Much of the news during training camp -- which, incidentally, Billick described as "one of the most enjoyable" in his tenure -- was generated by a player who doesn't even play for Baltimore, or at least not yet. The speculation surrounding Deion Sanders's return to the NFL centers on when the seven-time Pro Bowler will join the Ravens.
"I don't have a deadline," Billick said. "This is his deadline. He's either going to stay retired or he's not. I have to be respectful of that. He's fully aware of the time frame that I think we need to have."
Also Tuesday, the Ravens signed rookie free agent Bryan Save, a nose tackle from Colorado State, and placed rookie defensive tackle Matt Zielinski (knee) on injured reserve.
-- Camille Powell