OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce missed mandatory minicamp with a "personal issue."
This raised some questions about his status with the team and his availability for the upcoming training camp.
Coach John Harbaugh dismissed those concerns.
“He’s healthy, he’s good; it’s just a personal matter with his family, and that’s what it is," Harbaugh said.
Pierce will play a vital role in the defense, replacing long-time veteran Brandon Williams in the starting lineup.
The Ravens agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million deal with Pierce in March.
Pierce was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in May 2016 and spent his first four seasons in Baltimore before leaving for the Vikings as a free agent in 2020.
While with Baltimore (2016-19), Pierce totaled 151 tackles (90 solo), 3.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and two passes defensed in 60 games (30 starts) of action for a Ravens defense that ranked No. 1 overall (310.2 ypg), No. 5 against the pass (215.9 ypg) and No. 2 against the run (94.2 ypg) during that span.
Baltimore’s defense also permitted the NFL’s second-fewest points per game (18.6).
Pierce, 29, opted out of playing the 2020 season because of concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. He was limited to eight games last season because of an elbow injury.
"This is the only family I've known," Pierce said about his pending departure from the Ravens. "I would love for it to continue that way, but the NFL offseason is a beast in itself. So, you have to kind of take it how it goes. It's out of my hands at this point, but yes, I would always love, love to stay and be a part of this amazing group.
"They have a strong, strong group coming back next year, obviously, with Lamar [Jackson] at the head, so I'd love to be back. If not, I'll roll with the punches. But, I just have to get better.”
Prior to the NFL, Pierce played in 47 career games (32 starts) at Samford, where he twice earned All-Conference honors after recording 145 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss.
He transferred to Samford after spending his first two collegiate years at Tulane.