Ravens TE Dennis Pitta practices at full health, not concerned with injured hip
— On the second day of Ravens training camp, quarterback Joe Flacco looked to an old, reliable target.
The pass wasn’t an easy catch for Dennis Pitta to make, but the tight end stretched to get his fingers on the ball. He secured it safely as he fell to the ground.
Fans might still hold their breath when he hits the turf, but Pitta no longer second guesses the stability of his twice-injured hip. Pitta looked like his old self throughout the morning practice, showing no lingering signs of the hip injuries that have kept him off of the field for nearly three seasons.
“My hip feels good. I’m two days in and not worried about it at all. I’m moving like I want to,” he said. “Honestly, there’s nothing I do on the field that I worry about or even think about it, or it gives me a different feeling bending this way or twisting that way … It’s not something throughout the course of a practice that I’m even thinking about one bit – which is good, which is really positive.”
Pitta dislocated and fractured his hip during 2013 training camp. He suffered the same injury in
Week 3 of the 2014 season without any contact.
Pitta spent the entire 2015 season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
“It was really tough, because I didn’t get to play at all last year and I really wanted to. I made a big effort and pushed to get on the field after those weeks I sat on the PUP,” he said. “I probably could have forced it last year, but it just didn’t quite feel right. Now it does. That’s really the difference. I was running and I practiced for three weeks coming off PUP. By my own standards, I felt like I looked pretty good and was running well, but the feel and what I was experiencing post-practice wasn’t exactly what I wanted. That’s why we were hesitant in coming back. Now I don’t have any of those issues.”
Whether or not Pitta would return to football after he was not cleared to play last season remained in doubt. He restructured his contract and announced his return in April.
“Last year when I was trying to come off PUP, it still didn’t quite feel right,” Pitta said. “We knew we needed to give it more time, rightfully so. I’m at this point and feel good and don’t have any lingering issues or thoughts about it. I think we played it smart last year and did what we needed to do. I’m in a good position now and feel good.”
He said he wants to reclaim his spot as the lead tight end on a Ravens team that is jam packed at the position. Pitta feels he has not lost a step since he was Flacco’s top tight end.
Pitta has caught 138 passes for 1,369 and 11 touchdowns in 50 career games with Baltimore. The 2010 fourth-round pick emerged as Flacco’s favorite target during the 2012 Super Bowl campaign in which he caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns.
“It doesn’t feel any different than it did a couple of years ago when we were out there throwing the ball around. I don’t think those kinds of things go away,” Pitta said of his chemistry with Flacco, who is returning from an ACL injury. “He knows what I’m thinking. He knows where I’m going to be on certain routes and vice versa. I think we’re both comfortable with each other, and now it’s just about getting our legs under us and making sure we’re comfortable within the offense.”
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Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta appears completely healthy after his second major hip injury.