Both the Ravens and tight end Dennis Pitta have tough decisions to make in the coming weeks.
Pitta does not want to retire, but after two hip fractures and missing the entire 2015 season, Pitta’s career is clearly in jeopardy. Even if Pitta is medically cleared to play, he is due to make $5 million next season, and the Ravens could create around $5 million in additional cap room by releasing Pitta after June 1. If Pitta does not retire, the Ravens would probably want to re-work his contract if they do not release him.
Clearly, the Ravens have made plans for potential life without Pitta, drafting three tight ends over the past two years – Crockett Gillmore in 2014, and Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle last year. But Pitta is holding out hope that his career is not over at age 30.
“I definitely want to be on the field playing football,” Pitta told Glenn Clark Radio last week. “That’s something I really want to happen…Now, if it happens or not, I don’t know yet, and as much as I want to be on the field, there’s also an element of being smart and weighing the risks, which there certainly are big risks in my case. I’m going to do everything on my end to get out there and play, but it’s not all in my hands. Some of it will be involving the doctors and what they have to say also. We’ve got a couple of months to get that all ironed out and figure out what we’re going to do. I really couldn’t tell you one way or the other right now.”
Pitta has worked extremely hard to maximize his chances of playing. But doctors advised Pitta not to play last season, and to give his hip more time to heal. Now the clock is ticking as the Ravens plan for next season. Before too long, we’ll see if Pitta returns to action, or joins the ranks of other recently-retired former NFL players like Jared Allen and Jerod Mayo.