According to reports, Baltimore Ravens’ Dennis Pitta is expected to be on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Could he be on the verge of retirement?
The tight end is expected to be on the PUP list for training camp and the start of the regular season according to the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson.
Pitta has been making good work towards a full recovery since his hip injury, he’s at the point where he can do some route running and individual drills. However, he isn’t at the point where he will be ready for full-team drills yet.
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The Super Bowl XLVII champion will be able to come off the PUP list at any time during training camp, but if he is still on there come the beginning of the season, he will have to stay there for the first six games of the season.
Wilson said: “Pitta hasn't been medically cleared by doctors to practice and his career remains in doubt as he attempts to return from his second fracture and dislocated hip within the past two years.
“He has rehabilitated the hip to the point where he's able to do some route running and individual drills, but wasn't allowed to participate fully during the Ravens' off-season practices.”
The tight end has been out injured since he went down in a game against the Cleveland Browns last season in week three. This is his second hip injury in two years.
According to baltimoreravens.com, Ravens Head Coach, John Harbaugh said Pitta won’t be played again until he is cleared by doctors, and when he is prepared personally to take the field again.
“A couple of things are going to have to happen for him to play ultimately. Number one, he has to be cleared by the doctors. And, number two, he has to decide if he wants to play because obviously there will be some risk involved. He hasn't been cleared by the doctors.”
Harbaugh continued: “As you've seen before, he's been doing the individual part of practice. Minicamp, unless you're cleared, you can't come out to practice.
“I don't know if that's a rule or our policy, but that's the way it goes. Until he gets cleared by the docs, he won't be able to practice and we'll just have to see where that goes from here."
VERGE OF RETIREMENT?
He hasn’t played a full season since the 2012 season, where he managed to achieve 61 receptions for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. This is the same season the Ravens won the Super Bowl and his best season of his career.
He was quarterback Joe Flacco's 'go-to' receiver during that season, and he'll be looking to rekindle that connection if he returns.
At the age of 30 and coming off two years of hip injuries, Pitta certainly will not come back as the same player he was before.
He’s due $4 million in guarantee money this year whether he plays or not. That’s one of the only incentives for the Ravens to try and get him back on the field.
With Owen Daniels now at the Denver Broncos, the Ravens don’t have a lot of experience at the starting tight end position. This might be another reason why the Ravens are hoping Pitta can come back soon and not retire.
Jermaine Gresham and Zach Miller are the only free agents I believe that are capable of filling the tight end spot if Pitta is unable to return to the field.
However, they do have a promising rookie in Maxx Williams, and a projected starter in Crockett Gillmore that could fill the void during Pitta's absence.
Pitta should come back and stay away from retirement for at least one season and maybe see out the rest of his contract, which expires at the end of the 2018 season. He would be the number one tight end now Daniels has moved on.
If Pitta doesn’t come back, and if they unable to sign a good free agent, and if Williams or Gillmore aren’t able to make the step up to starting tight end, the Ravens could have a real problem in the position next season.