After zero starts in the regular season, McKinnie was inserted into the lineup for the playoffs as part of a retooling of the line that led to pristine protection for quarterback Joe Flacco.
It was assumed the 33-year-old McKinnie wouldn't be back in 2013 -- especially considering the cap hell facing the Ravens -- but recent conversations with coach John Harbaugh suggest the door is still open.
"It was two different times (Harbaugh) mentioned it," McKinnie told the Carroll County Times on Friday. "One was after like the New England game. He was like, 'After we play in the Super Bowl, we need to talk about you for next year.' ... And then when we were out at the Super Bowl, he came up to the table with me for lunch or something and he kind of mentioned again, 'You know, we want to see what's going on with you after the Super Bowl.' "
McKinnie helped shut down Dwight Freeney in a wild-card victory over the Indianapolis Colts and took care of business against Elvis Dumervil in a stunning divisional-round win over the Denver Broncos. His most impressive handiwork came against Aldon Smith last Sunday, as he kept the San Francisco 49ers sack machine off Flacco all day.
"I think it makes a statement for him," general manager Ozzie Newsome said earlier this week. "I think he has a decision to make as to whether he wants to come back and play here."
It wasn't long ago that the Ravens were holding McKinnie out of summer sessions because he couldn't keep his weight down. His vanishing act during the regular season seemed to ice his future in Baltimore, but everything he's done since makes this an interesting decision for the front office.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.