Ravens' Harbaugh says Flacco's return to practice is 'encouraging'

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh comments on quarterback Joe Flacco's practice today and outlook for Sunday's game against the Jets. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun video)

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco sauntered onto the practice field at 11:39 a.m. Friday. He caught a football from practice squad cornerback Asa Jackson, and returned the ball with a behind-the-back pass.

He then went over to where the rest of the quarterbacks were and started loosening up his right arm. Flacco threw several short passes to tight end Dennis Pitta, and then some intermediate ones. He showed no signs of discomfort in the sore right shoulder that kept him out of practice for the previous two days.


"He looked good. He was throwing the ball well. He didn't seem in any kind of pain. Yeah, we're excited to have him back out there, for sure," Pitta said. "It was walkthrough tempo. Just throwing with him, he had good zip on the ball and good velocity. So, we should see same old Joe Flacco."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about Flacco's status for Sunday's game against the New York Jets, and the quarterback was listed as questionable on the final injury report. If Flacco can't play, Ryan Mallett would get the start.

That Flacco practiced, though, was certainly a step toward him playing Sunday.

Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco both said they expect Flacco to play Sunday, but I think they will be cautious with him -- and they should be.

"We'll see how he responds tomorrow," said Harbaugh, who said earlier in the week that he believes Flacco will play. "He was out there running around a little bit, throwing the ball a little bit. We'll see what happens. It was encouraging. I'm always for that, seeing Joe out there. It's a good thing."

Asked if Flacco is a game-time decision, Harbaugh said, "I'm not putting any labels on it."

Pitta acknowledged he'd be surprised if Flacco didn't play Sunday. The quarterback had started 137 consecutive games to begin his career before he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee last November. He was unavailable to comment after practice Friday because he was getting treatment.

"I don't really know his medical status, but it was encouraging to see him out there today, for sure," Pitta said.

Ravens kick returner Devin Hester (thigh) also returned to practice after missing last week's game against the New York Giants.

The Ravens still had seven players not practicing: wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), linebackers Terrell Suggs (biceps), Elvis Dumervil (foot) and C.J. Mosley (hamstring), and defensive backs Shareece Wright (hamstring) and Kendrick Lewis (thigh).

Smith, Yanda, Dumervil and Mosley all haven't practiced in two weeks, and are expected to miss Sunday's game against the Jets (1-5). Harbaugh has also said it's unlikely Suggs will play Sunday.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun