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Dennis Pitta hopeful, but concerned about Tua Tagovailoa’s hip injury

Mike Florio and Big Cat jump into some NFL draft props, including who will be picked first between Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa and how many receivers will go in the first round.

The hope was that the hip injury was something he could overcome, and go back to being the top player he was previously.

But the story wasn’t that simple for former Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, and he worries about what that might mean for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Pitta appeared on the Rapsheet and Friends podcast, and said he felt a bit guilty about being a cautionary tale at a time when many are wondering if the Alabama quarterback could be poised for a draft slide.

“I think what hurts him a little bit is my case, and I feel bad about that,” Pitta said. ""But a lot of people are talking about Tua and saying he can’t be the same player that he was because of this hip injury.”

After helping the Ravens to a Super Bowl win in 2012, Pitta suffered a fractured and dislocated hip early in training camp the following year. He came back to play later that season, and the Ravens actually signed him to a five-year contract extension the following spring. But it was just the first in a series of problems, and he played just seven games the following three years because of two more hip dislocations.

Pitta said his initial injury was similar to Tagovailoa’s last November, and he said he’s spoken to Tagovailoa’s father about the process of coming back, and that all the signs right now are good as it pertains to blood flow to the bone (the lack of which resulted in the end of Bo Jackson’s career). Pitta suffered another dislocation and fractured his femoral head the following year, which he said came as a surprise based on previous indications.

“I think because of the first hip injury and because potentially there not being enough blood to that bone, it was weaker than it normally would have been,” Pitta said. “Now if in fact he doesn’t have disruption of blood flow to that bone, I don’t think he’s going to have issues, to be completely honest. I never felt like my hip was unstable after my first one. But because the femoral head fractured, now you only have half of a femur in there and it can easily slip in and out of the socket. And so that’s what happened on my last two. I continued to play [thinking] the blood flow looked good, the bone should have been as strong or stronger than it ever was, but that just wasn’t the case for whatever reason. Everything that doctors were kind of telling me was, ‘It looks good, blood flow looks good, bone’s healed, should be strong,’ and that obviously didn’t happen. It wasn’t the case in my last two.”

Pitta said he encouraged the Tagovailoa family to make sure he took his time rehabbing, and the lack of OTAs and offseason programs certainly gives him more time.

The concern remains.