OWINGS MILLS -- Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta is returning to practice Wednesday, coach John Harbaugh said. For Pitta, returning to practice was the next step in his attempt to resume his career, following two major hip injuries since 2013.
Pitta missed all but four games in 2013 after fracturing his hip during training camp. Then Pitta re-injured his hip in Week 3 of 2014 on a non-contact play, and he has not played since. He was placed on the PUP list prior to training camp.
Harbaugh cautioned that returning to practice for Pitta did not mean an imminent return to the lineup. However, Pitta clearly wants to return to the NFL, despite two major hip surgeries since 2013. Pitta has been seen running pass routes on game days during pre-game warmups, but the daily grind of practice will be another test for Pitta’s hip.
“It’s Dennis’ decision, along with his family,”Harbaugh said prior to Wednesday's practice. “He’s going to see how he feels out there, and how he responds. He’s been working very hard.
“I wouldn’t make too much of it. Especially for this week. Don’t get carried away. Probably the bigger thing is how he feels today, tomorrow, the day after that after practicing.”
The Ravens have drafted three tight ends since 2014 – Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, and Nick Boyle – knowing that Pitta’s future was uncertain. However, Pitta is still only 30 years old, and helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl in 2012, his last full season, with 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns.
Harbaugh said Pitta deserved credit for how hard he has worked in his attempt to come back.
“I’m just happy for Dennis, happy that he’ll be out here doing what he loves to do,” Harbaugh said. “When you put the kind of work he’s put in, and you see what he’s done every single day. Wherever it goes, we’ll see. But I’m just really uplifted for him.”
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