By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
8:22 AM EDT, August 8, 2013
When the Ravens quietly brought back veteran blocking tight end Billy Bajema on a one-year, $840,000 contract in June, it wasn't a high-profile signing.
Bajema was re-signed the same day that Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach -- who's now back on the roster via a two-year, $3.75 million contact -- had his contract terminated.
Bajema didn't catch any passes last season for the Ravens, but the hard-nosed 6-foot-4, 259-pounder is valued by the Ravens for his physical nature at the point of attack.
And now that tight end Dennis Pitta is out for the season with a fractured, dislocated hip and Ed Dickson is sidelined for at least a week and probably longer with a slightly torn hamstring, Bajema has been elevated from the third tight end spot to backing up Visanthe Shiancoe.
Bajema, who has 38 career receptions for 398 yards and two touchdowns, played in eight games last season with one start and appeared in every playoff game, providing a blocking presence on obvious running downs and was utilized in red-zone situations.
"It's great to be back here," said Bajema, a San Francisco 49ers 2005 seventh-round draft pick from Oklahoma State entering his ninth NFL season who had a previous stint with the St. Louis Rams prior to joining the Ravens last season. "I was at home working out and obviously my first choice was to be back here. I was really glad when they decided to bring me back and be a part of what the team is doing going forward.
"The mentality of this team and just the toughness and the things John Harbaugh preaches, I've embraced them and it's been an exciting ride. Going forward, I'm going to try to help them any way I can."