Guess who’s back…it’s non other than Dez Bryant, who recently signed to the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. Now after two weeks, he was promoted to their 53-man roster after placing Chris Moore on the injured reserve list. He could be set to make his return to the NFL today as the Ravens travel to face the Indianapolis Colts.
Bryant, a former first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys back in 2010, was for a time one of the most talented and productive players in the NFL. between 2012 and 2014, for example, he recorded 273 receptions for 3935 yards and 31 touchdowns.
After eight years in Dallas, during which time he accumulated 531 receptions for 7459 yards and 73 touchdowns, however, his career came to a halt. He was released in April of 2018, and remained unsigned until deep into the season, when the New Orleans Saints brought him in.
Sadly, he suffered a torn Achilles in practice just two days after signing the contract and never even got a chance to play. He spent much of 2019 rehabbing from that injury, but was still hoping to sign with somebody in an opportunity that never developed.
The Ravens were the first team to show him serious interest, bringing him in for a workout last month, and then signing him to the practice squad—remember, this is the first season during which veteran are allowed to sign to the practice squad with any level of experience and playing time.
The Moore injury provided a golden opportunity for Baltimore to make this move, and according to Jamison Hensley, the intention is for him to see the field, today, against the Colts. Now 31 years old, it has been over 1000 days since he last took the field back in December of 2017.
It’s worth noting that rookie wide receiver Devin Duvernay is listed as questionable to play today due to a thigh injury. Marquise Brown and second-year Miles Boykin are the team’s top two wide receivers, but this is a two-tight end offense with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle, and they also use fullback Patrick Ricard a good amount.
In his final season in 2017, Bryant caught 69 passes for 838 yards with six touchdowns. Reportedly, the decision to release him wasn’t so much to do with a belief in his diminished talent, but rather the totality of what his presence represented on the team, including his ‘fiery’ personality.
Now he will join an offense that throws the ball less than almost literally everybody else in the league. The Ravens average 27.6 pass attempts per game, while the Minnesota Vikings average 27 pass attempts per game.