Ravens pending free agent Gillmore making transition from tight end to offensive line

Ravens pending free agent Crockett Gillmore is healthy again and he’s intent on making a strong return to the field. However, it won’t be as a tight end.

Gillmore, who missed the entire 2017 season after he tore his MCL last summer, has been training this offseason with the intention of becoming an offensive lineman, his new agent, Jonathan Feinsod, confirmed Wednesday.

Gillmore has put approximately 40 pounds onto his 6-foot-6 frame. According to his profile on his new agency’s website, Gillmore is up to 305 pounds. The Ravens listed him at 266 pounds last summer.

The Ravens are believed to be intrigued by Gillmore’s potential and feel he has the mindset and physicality needed to make the transition. They have spoken to him about a return, but they’d have to see where he is physically before agreeing to a deal.

The 26-year-old has been working out the past couple of offseasons at former NFL guard-center LeCharles Bentley’s offensive line academy, focusing specifically on his balance, footwork and explosion off the line of scrimmage.

Gillmore was a defensive lineman at Colorado State before switching to tight end and since becoming a Raven, he talked about either wanting to switch to defense or play offensive tackle.

"I could care less about playing offense," Gillmore told The Baltimore Sun in an October 2015 story. "I have the mentality and the want-to to be the best, no matter what I'm doing. To me, defense is where I belong. That's where I've always belonged, and I have that mentality. I play with, I've always said, a mentality of playing with bad intentions."

The Ravens felt that Gillmore, a third-round compensatory pick in the 2014 draft, was on his way to becoming one of the better two-way tight ends in the NFL before the injuries started to mount. After catching 10 balls for 121 yards and one touchdown as a rookie, Gillmore started to break out in 2015. Becoming one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, Gillmore had 33 catches for 412 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. However, a back injury cost him the final six games and he had shoulder surgery after the season.

In 2016, Gillmore played in just seven games and had only eight catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. He was limited by myriad injuries, including a hamstring problem.

He returned last summer hoping to win the starting tight end job, but his season was over about a week into training camp. He landed awkwardly after making a reception in a July 28 practice. He needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn MCL and spent the year on injured reserve.

All told, Gillmore played in just 17 games over the past three seasons with the Ravens. He is due to hit free agency March 14. It isn’t clear yet whether Gillmore will play tackle or guard.

The Ravens are far thinner at tackle behind starters Ronnie Stanley and Austin Howard than they are inside.

Even with starting center Ryan Jensen and last year’s starting left guard, James Hurst, expected to hit free agency, the Ravens have depth inside with the expected healthy returns of projected starting guards Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda, and last year’s fourth-round pick, Nico Siragusa. Matt Skura, who started 12 games at right guard in 2017, is a candidate to play center if Jensen doesn’t return.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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