You probably read yesterday that the Baltimore Ravens suffered another blow after veteran tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a recurrence of an old and very bothersome injury. For the third time in the past four years, he dislocated his hip, the team confirmed late in the evening.
It was shortly after that that Pitta, the 2010 fourth-round draft pick, all but announced his retirement from the NFL. That certainly was not a surprising move given the very serious long-term nature of his injury, but it is saddening to hear of a player being forced into retirement in such a way—to be injured on the field and virtually call it a career on the spot.
Wikipedia is not exactly the most credible source in the world, but it is widely used all around the world to look up standard information. If you go to Pitta’s Wikipedia page now, it reads, “a former American football tight end”. The stark reality of such a statement is, I think, for many people when it hits home.
I should make it clear that as of this writing Pitta has not formally declared his retirement nor publicly informed anybody of that decision. This report comes courtesy of NFL Network, “according to a source informed of the diagnosis”. The report goes on to say that “doctors are working to put the hip back in the socket, whether through manual manipulation or surgery”.
While he never made a Pro Bowl, Pitta became a reliable player in his career and outlasted his draft partner, Ed Dickson as the successor to the long-time Raven great Todd Heap. His career numbers do not accurately reflect a seven-year career because he missed so much of it.
In 62 games, he caught 224 passes for 2098 yards and 13 touchdowns, surprisingly, fumbling just one time, which came last season, in which he posted career highs in receptions and receiving yards with 86 and 729, respectively. Only 23 of those games came in starts, with 12 last season. He only played in seven games between 2013 and 2015.
According to Pro Football Focus, Pitta was actually among the most productive tight ends out of the slot last season, placing third in yards per route run at 1.76, behind only Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Both of the aforementioned average higher yards per route run when including their outside-alignment work, but Pitta was a slot tight end.
The Raven veteran was instrumental in helping the team reach and win the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. Baltimore signed him to a healthy new contract after that, but, of course, he has not gotten the opportunity to play much since.
The Ravens have in the past few years asked Pitta to take pay cuts in order to continue to hold him on the roster, a request that he has obliged, given the circumstances. Baltimore does have several other tight ends to move on to, although only two of them are currently fully healthy, it should be noted.