As his teammates worked through their final full practice of the week on another field, injured tight end Dennis Pitta stood about 10 yards away from the JUGS machine, catching ball after ball.
Pitta, who fractured and dislocated his hip early in training camp, remains a long way from returning, if he’s able to come back this year at all. However, he continues to increase his activity, a positive sign for the Ravens, who have clearly struggled to compensate for his absence.
“I got to be honest with you, I’m pretty impressed,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s running quite a bit in here on these machines and he’s already catching passes. That’s a ways away time-wise. Every time I see Dennis, I got mixed emotions. I’m happy he’s doing so well and I’m not happy that he’s not already out there playing right now. He’s doing a good job.”
On Sept. 4, Pitta was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return. He’s eligible to return to the active roster eight weeks from that date, meaning the earliest Pitta could play is Nov. 3 against the Cleveland Browns. If he returns, however, it probably would be much later in the season.
Last season, Pitta, 28, had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. In four postseason games, he caught 14 balls for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
Ed Dickson, who became the No.1 tight end in Pitta’s absence, has just three catches for 25 yards this season and he’s struggled to hold onto the ball.