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Pitta still hoping to return to field


Pitta still hoping to return to field

Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta said last week that he still hopes to resume his career after missing all of last season with his second major hip injury, but he remained vague about the prospects of doing so.

“There’s no timeline as far as when a decision is going to be made,” Pitta said as the Ravens cleared out their locker room last week. “We’ll give it some time this offseason, and I’ll certainly do some thinking and testing my body and hip, and we’ll see.”

If that sounds familiar, it's pretty much exactly what Pitta said last summer and fall as he tried to rehabilitate from his second dislocated hip.

“At this point, nothing has changed from when we last spoke,” he added. “I certainly have a desire to play and want to play and want to be a part of this team moving forward. But we’ll see how it plays out.”

Pitta, who signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal before the 2014 season, is due a base salary of $5 million next season and carries a $7.2 million cap figure for 2016. Those are huge numbers for someone who has played seven games in the past three years. He would appear to be a prime cap casualty, but the Ravens won't realize a ton of savings; there is $6.6 million in dead money to contend with if Pitta is let go, though they will realize some savings if he is deemed a post-June 1 cut.  That would allow the Ravens to transfer $4.4 million of that dead money to 2017; that dead money isn't going away, it just becomes a question of when that bill would be paid.

The Ravens clearly are a better team with a healthy Pitta, who had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns during the Ravens 2012 Super Bowl season. But there is no guarantee -- or even likelihood -- that Pitta, who turns 31 in June, can return to the field after doctors essentially shut him down last season before he could ever come off the physically-unable-to-perform list.

The Ravens last year drafted two tight ends, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle, an indication that they were prepared for life after Pitta. Those two showed promise this season as rookies, and with the emergence of Crockett Gillmore as the starter, the Ravens are well-stocked at tight end without Pitta.

Pitta acknowledged that he has had to wrestle with the prospect that his career is over, but isn't ready to declare that just yet.

"I feel good physically, and I feel like I could go out and run and all that," he said. "It’ll be about weighing the risks versus the rewards at this point. We’ll do some thinking over the next few months in the offseason, get with the doctors again and go from there.”

"At some point, we all move on from the game of football," he later added. "Hopefully, it’s not that soon for me, but if it is, I’ve certainly had to think about it and put some thought into it.”

RELATED: Ravens hope coaching staff continuity pays off 




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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."