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Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta should retire from the NFL

It is good news hearing that tight end Dennis Pitta won't return this season. I hope he takes it one step further and decides to retire permanently.

It is good news hearing that tight end Dennis Pitta won't return this season. I hope he takes it one step further and decides to retire permanently.

I've always liked Pitta, and not just for what he does on the field. He seems to be a nice person off of it, too. He has a good sense of humor and a quiet demeanor, which includes a pleasant charm and respect for others. You don't forget those qualities in a person.

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But I also can't forget what happened to Pitta in Week 3 of 2014 in Cleveland, when he fractured and dislocated his hip for a second time. He went down without being touched, and that's the scary part.

If it happened a second time without contact, what is going to happen when he gets nailed going after a high pass from Joe Flacco across the middle? Or, what is going to happen when Pitta gets sandwiched after catching a pass in the back of the end zone?

It's just not worth going back out there to play again. To risk being injured again or possibly having permanent damage, well, there is something to be said about quality of life.

You applaud Pitta for his effort and the work ethic he has shown in two rehabilitation processes. To come back once is hard enough, but to attempt to come back twice speaks volume about his character.

According to team sources, Pitta's doctors don't want him to play yet, and I'm pretty certain the Ravens don't want him on the field at this point, either. But Pitta has been paid and wants to show team officials he just wasn't there to collect a paycheck. He is Flacco's best friend, and wants to support his quarterback and struggling team.

But at this point, there is very little to gain in his career. He has played well since the Ravens selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft out of Brigham Young. In 50 regular season games, he has 138 catches for 1,369 yard and 11 touchdowns. More importantly, he has a Super Bowl ring.

If you talk to most NFL players, especially the great ones, they play the game because they want to win a ring, they want financial security and have passion for the game. Knowing Pitta, there is no need for money. He already has won a ring, so the only thing left is that he wants to compete.

That competitive fire is what has driven him during his comeback attempts. He will continue to work out and rehab the hip during the remaining eight games of the season. Along the way, he'll envision himself back on the field countless times, and will want to play next season.

But there is so much more to life than football.

If you can walk away from this game reasonably healthy with a championship, then you have accomplished more than most of the players who have been in this league.

Pitta should walk away while he can with a hip that already has been fractured and dislocated twice. A third injury could be devastating.

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