Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Ravens notebook: Harbaugh acknoledges Pitta could leave

INDIANAPOLIS - Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he's "very optimistic" that the team will be able to retain both tight end Dennis Pitta and left tackle Eugene Monroe, but he also acknowledged that it's possible Pitta could become a free agent.

"I think every scenario is possible here," Harbaugh said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Free agency starts March 11. Baltimore could place the franchise tag on Pitta if a deal can't be worked prior to March 3, but the franchise tag for tight ends is expected to be $6.7 million.

Also, Pitta may file a grievance if he is franchised, arguing that he should be should be tagged as a wide receiver because he spent most of his time in 2013 as a slot receiver.

The difference in the two tags is almost $5 million. The wide receiver tag is expected to be worth $11.5 million.

"The franchise tag is very vague right now, so anything could happen," Harbaugh said.

INJURY UPDATE: Harbaugh is optimistic regarding the medical status of both starting left guard Kelechi Osemele and running back Bernard Pierce.

Osemele had back surgery in November and missed the final nine games of the season, but Harbaugh said Friday that he expects the 2012 second-round pick to be healthy enough to participate when Baltimore's offseason program begins in April.

"K.O. is way far along in his training," Harbaugh said.

Pierce had shoulder surgery in January. Harbaugh doesn't expect him to participate in organized team activities or minicamp, but he said that he does expect Pierce to be ready to practice when training camp begins in late July.

SCOUTING: The Ravens conducted formal meetings with several of the top-rated running backs in this year's NFL draft Friday night.

Harbaugh has said that he wants to add another running back to go along with Ray Rice and Pierce, and he reiterated that Friday.

For most of last season, Rice and Pierce were the only two running backs that the Ravens had active on game day.

"I just don't feel like two runners was enough," Harbaugh said Friday. "The circumstances kind of led us to that with our roster. We never [wanted] just two runners. We definitely need three, and it could be four of them."

Terrance West from Towson, Carlos Hyde from Ohio State, Ka'Deem Carey from Arizona and Andre Williams from Boston College all had formal meetings scheduled with Baltimore for Friday night. West, Hyde and Carey are all projected by to go in the top three rounds. Williams, who led the FBS with 2,177 rushing yards in 2013, is viewed as a fourth-round talent.