Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta enjoyed being back at the team facility last week, taking part in workouts with his teammates. He hopes that was just the start of a significant comeback.
Pitta, who has had surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip each of the past two years, said Saturday that his goal remains to be on the field for the 2015 season. But he said it's too early to know whether that will be possible.
"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," said Pitta, who appeared with quarterback Joe Flacco at Casino Night at Al Packer's White Marsh Ford to benefit Special Olympics Maryland. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if we can get there."
The Ravens have said they are leaving the decision to Pitta and his doctors. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said Pitta's hip is fully recovered, but whether he returns to the field is up to the 29-year-old..
Pitta suffered his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many seasons during a Sept. 21 game against the Cleveland Browns. He did not play the rest of the season.
In the past two seasons, Pitta, one of Flacco's closest friends and favorite targets, has played in seven games, catching 36 balls for 294 yards and a touchdown.
"I'm just happy to be back here working with the guys," Pitta said. "I'm feeling good in workouts. We'll just take it one day at a time."
Baltimore Ravens Insider
A successful comeback by Pitta would be a huge bonus for the Ravens, who watched top tight end Owen Daniels sign with the Denver Broncos last month. They also lost starting wide receiver Torrey Smith (Maryland) in free agency to the San Francisco 49ers and released Jacoby Jones, who wound up signing with the San Diego Chargers.
That leaves the Ravens with just one receiver, veteran Steve Smith, who had more than 25 catches last season. And while the Ravens could use their first-round pick in next week's draft on a wide receiver, Flacco expressed confidence in the group that's already in place, which includes Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro (River Hill) and Kamar Aiken.
"I don't know if it's needed," said Flacco when asked whether he'd like the Ravens to draft a wide receiver. "We have a great group of guys. Obviously, without Torrey now, the one thing we probably don't have as much of is that speed, is that one guy who can stretch the field. But I'm not going to say we need it. I think we got really good guys and I think we're good with who we have. If that's where we go, that's where we go. I trust these guys to get somebody good. I think we've got a good group and we are good with where we are."
Flacco is also excited to get to work with new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, who took over for Gary Kubiak after Kubiak was hired as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. With Kubiak calling the plays last season, Flacco had one of the best regular seasons of his career, throwing for 27 touchdown passes and just 12 interceptions while completing 62.1 percent of his passes.
"I'm excited," Flacco said. "I'm really excited about Marc being here. I think he's a great mind. I think he does a great job in the meeting room. My conversations with him have gotten me excited. I think he's excited about being here, which is always good. Marty [Mornhinweg] is the new quarterbacks coach. There are a couple of new guys on the staff. We were just back for the first week, and I think it went really well. I expect it to be that way."
It could be a big year for Flacco, who likely will need to restructure his contract after the season. Flacco carries a $28.55 million salary cap hit for next season, which would be extremely prohibitive for the Ravens. In a recent conference call with season-ticket holders, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti expressed confidence that the two sides would be able to work out a deal next year.
"I'd definitely like to. It's good to hear him say that," Flacco said. "This has been my home for a good amount of time now and I consider it to be that. You think every now and then but not too much, honestly. You just go out and play and all that stuff will take care of itself."