The Ravens acquired Lee Evans from the Buffalo Bills for a fourth-round draft pick in August in the hopes he would make the kind of game-changing plays that rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith made in the final seconds of Sunday night’s 23-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Evans has been sidelined with a foot injury since Week 2, giving Smith an opportunity to step into the starting lineup -- and into the national spotlight with his game-winning touchdown catch Sunday.
On Wednesday, Evans returned to the practice field with his sights set on playing against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend. Evans said Wednesday’s practice session would be his “third or fourth” attempt at practicing on a limited basis since the team shut him down in September.
“We’re going to try to see,” he said. “I’m going to go out there and do a little bit today and see what happens. But it’s been a while since I’ve been out there, so hopefully it feels good.”
He said the key isn’t just practicing pain-free and seeing how his injured left foot responds, but also being able to perform actions like running, cutting, twisting and jumping effectively.
“It’s a dynamic position,” he said. “Just because I can run doesn’t mean I can play the game.”
In the meantime, watching from the sideline, Evans has been impressed by the play of Smith, the team's second-round pick.
“Torrey has it. He’s been having it. He’s just refining it,” Evans said. “And as he continues to grow up and learns the game and if he continues to make plays, the sky is the limit for him.”
In other news, Ravens linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo suffered a minor concussion in Sunday’s win. He practiced on a limited basis in noncontact drills on Wednesday.
“There’s not too many symptoms, so I’m feeling good,” Ayanbadejo said. “For my first concussion -- I’ve heard of people throwing up, dizzy, can’t watch TV, sensitive to light -- I don’t really have any of that stuff.”
Ayanbadejo, who suffered the concussion in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win, said he would take a concussion battery test later in the week, likely Thursday. He expects to play Sunday.
He has slight amnesia, though, and is disappointed that the details of the last-minute comeback are fuzzy in his mind.
“I don’t remember the fourth quarter of the game,” Ayanbadejo said. “I remember everything up until the point where I got hit. … To have so many heartbreaks against Pittsburgh and to win a game like that where we came from behind and won on the last drive, and for me to not feel the emotional high, I feel like I was robbed.”
Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) also practiced Wednesday. The only player who did not suit up was center Matt Birk, but he has been excused from some Wednesday practices this season, so his absence isn’t alarming.