Several weeks ago, I wrote that Baltimore Ravens veteran tight end Dennis Pitta was attempting to make a comeback after essentially missing the past two seasons due to recurring hip injury stemming from a fracture. He was previously advised by his doctors that it might be too dangerous to attempt to resume his career.
But a couple of months on since then, the tight end has finally gotten the opportunity to actually get on the football field and move around in ways that actually resemble what he would be asked to do in the context of the game, even if it is at this stage what Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin somewhat derisively refers to as “football in shorts” when reporters try to extrapolate meaningful intelligence from what they see in May.
When it comes to testing out a fractured hip, however, there can surely be gained some useful information from spring drills during OTas. After all, the Ravens are a team that believes enough in this time of year that they put their rookies in pads during their minicamp, and as a result were penalized by being forced to give up a week of their OTA sessions.
During Baltimore’s initial OTA sessions, however, Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun writes that “Pitta demonstrated his ability to catch balls in tight spaces”, something that he did with great success during the team’s Super Bowl run from a few years back, in which he played an integral role with 14 receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
For his part, Pitta said, “I feel really good physically out there”, adding, “I haven’t played football for a while, so there are things that I’m getting back used to. But overall I can’t complain. I feel like I’m running like I want to, and I used to, so that’s very encouraging”.
He also told reporters that he does not have “any lingering issue, nothing that I’m worried about” while reiterating that he is “encouraged” but how his body felt and what he was able to get out of his body in terms of movement on the field.
What might be less encouraging for his return to football, however, is the Ravens’ depth chart, which they have invested in since he was first injured, given that it was difficult to count on him. They signed veteran Benjamin Watson this offseason.
Last year, they drafted Maxx Williams in the second round, and later added Nick Boyle. They also return Crockett Gilmore, who functioned as the team’s primary starting tight end last year in his second season.
But Boyle is going to begin the season serving a suspension, and Gilmore is also coming off of an injury, having undergone shoulder surgery this offseason. There are questions facing many of the Ravens’ players at the position, including Pitta, obviously, even if head coach John Harbaugh said that “he looks like Dennis Pitta to me”.