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Pitta remains optimistic about recovery

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Pitta remains optimistic about recovery

Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta remains optimistic that he can return to the field this fall, but said he is dealing with "uncharted waters" as he tries to return from his second major hip injury in as many seasons.

Speaking with 105.7 The Fan on Friday to promote his role in a charity softball game this weekend -- no he isn't playing, he's just the manager -- Pitta said of his recovery: "I'm doing well. It's a process, so I'm taking it one step at a time and doing everything that is asked of me from a training standpoint, and we'll see where we're at in a few months."

Pitta is trying to return to action this fall after missing almost all of last season with a fractured and dislocated hip suffered in the Week 3 game at Cleveland when he crumpled to the ground without being hit. Pitta had initially fractured the hip in training camp in 2013, which cost him most of that season.

Pitta has been present at the Ravens OTA workouts the past two weeks, but he has been limited to individual drills and some pass catching and agility drills off to the side.

"Dennis is out there for about half the practice, and he’s doing a nice job, too, so we’re not counting him out at all," coach John Harbaugh said after Wednesday's workout.

When Pitta suffered his first hip injury, he was sidelined for about five months; the injury occurred in July, the Ravens placed him on injured reserve-designated to return, and he returned for the final four games of that season.  The Ravens then re-signed Pitta to a five-year, $32 million deal ($16 million guaranteed) last offseason.

But Pitta, who turns 30 this month, told 105.7 The Fan that, "With these injuries, there's no real schedule. There's just not a lot of research on it, there's not a lot of information on it, so we're kind of wading through uncharted waters here. I'd love to say that I'm ahead of schedule but we just don't know.

"I'm feeling good, I'm feeling optimistic about where I'm at in my recovery, but obviously it's still a long journey and we'll continue to work hard."

If Pitta returns, the Ravens will get back one of their top offensive weapons and one of quarterback Joe Flacco's favorite targets. Pitta had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012, his last full season. But the Ravens obviously are preparing for the possibility that Pitta cannot return, as they drafted two tight ends this year -- Maxx Williams in the second round and Nick Boyle in the fifth.

[MORE RAVENS Urban gets timeout for getting too close to Flacco]

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Joe Flacco's status remains uncertain as Ravens head into Week 12

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USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco's status remains uncertain as Ravens head into Week 12

Lamar Jackson's first NFL start has taken over the headlines and airwaves since his historic performance Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens. But what about that guy Joe Flacco?

Sunday marked the first time Flacco wasn't the team's starting quarterback in 41 games as he nursed a hip injury sustained in their Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens were hush all week on Flacco's status against the Cincinnati Bengals, but head coach John Harbaugh told reporters post-victory they knew the Super Bowl XLVII MVP would be unable to start. 

"Finally, it was when he had a doctor’s appointment earlier in the week in New York," Harbaugh said. "One of the final … We had an indication of it the week before – it was going to be tough. But the final word … I can’t remember what day it was. It was Monday or Tuesday.” 

In his 11 years with the Ravens, the only extended time Flacco has missed was six games back in 2015 after tearing his ACL. Prior to Week 11, Flacco was on the injury report only eight times and had missed only three practices during the regular season. 

Flacco sustained the injury on the team's opening drive against the Steelers three weeks ago, but played the full 60 minutes completing 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards. What we've learned about the injury over the last week and a half is that it doesn't appear the quarterback will need surgery, but beyond that, there is little information on a return date. 

"Yes, it will be tough for him this week coming up,” Harbaugh added postgame. 

The timing of this injury is obviously not ideal given that Flacco is playing on the last year of his contract and the quarterback they drafted to replace him had about as good of a start as you can draw up.

"I'm not getting into any of that, Harbaugh said Monday on if Flacco would would have a chance to reclaim his job.

With six games to play and currently in a five-way tie for the last AFC wild card spot, a lot, and we mean a lot, can happen.

And just 24 hours after saying it would be tough for Flacco to play this upcoming week, Harbaugh upgraded Flacco's status.

“He has a chance. It’s just a matter of how fast the healing takes place in there," Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. "It’s not a surgical thing; it’s just a calming-down type of a thing with the hip, and I’m not a doctor. They have that commercial with the TV doctors. I’m not even a TV doctor, so we’ll see.”

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Peter King awards Lamar Jackson with weekly honor for NFL start vs. Bengals

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Peter King awards Lamar Jackson with weekly honor for NFL start vs. Bengals

The Baltimore Ravens couldn't have drawn up a better NFL start for rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. 

With the weight of keeping his team in playoff contention against a division rival that crushed those hopes less than a year ago firmly on his shoulders, Jackson stepped onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium and not only got the win, but set records along the way.

The 21-year-old's performance caught the attention of local and national pundits, earning him one of two Offensive Players of the Week honors in Peter Kings' Football Morning in America.

In the 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the first-round draft pick was 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts.

Those 117 rushing yards were the second-most by a rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger with 46 of them on the Ravens' opening drive alone. Coincidentally, Robert Griffin III holds the record for most rushing yards by a rookie QB with 138 back in October of 2012 with the Redskins.

His speed was an issue all afternoon for the Bengals as well. Jackson is so fast that according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Jackson reached 15+ mph on 14 rushing attempts. No other player has hit 15+ mph on more than nine rushing attempts this season. 

"The way he bounced back and his composure," safety Eric Weddle told reporters after the game on what impressed him about Jackson's performance.

"He threw that pick [to start the second half], and what did he do next drive? He went down and scored. And it was like nothing happened and you can't teach that. It's something that you see in him, he's very even-keeled, cool calm and collected...that's what impressed me. His physical ability and the way he plays; we see it everyday so I expect him to play like that. But just to overcome some adversity early on in his first start and to come back and lead a huge drive and make some big plays...I just think his composure."

Now the Heisman Trophy winner will have to maintain that same composure when the Oakland Raiders come to town in what will likely be his second NFL start.

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