One day after starting tight end Dennis Pitta underwent season-ending surgery to repair his fractured and dislocated right hip, the Ravens added reinforcements for the position.
The Ravens opted for familiarity over the unknown Tuesday by promoting former Houston Texans tight end Phillip Supernaw from the practice squad to the active roster after auditioning four free agents. They created a roster spot for Supernaw by officially placing Pitta on injured reserve, ending his season after he injured the same hip as last season and had surgery for the second time in the past 14 months.
The Ravens also signed former Cleveland Browns tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi to the practice squad to add depth. Ogbuehi tried out for the Ravens on Tuesday at their training complex along with Kellen Davis, Matt Mulligan and Jake Murphy, according to sources.
Supernaw is familiar with Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's playbook from their time together with the Texans. He's not a pass-catching tight end like Pitta, but the 6-foot-5, 248-pound player is knowledgeable about what Kubiak and tight ends coach Brian Pariani expect in the offense.
With Pitta out for the season after suffering a potential career-jeopardizing injury, the Ravens will go with two-time Pro Bowl tight end Owen Daniels as the starter, rookie Crockett Gillmore as the primary backup and Supernaw as the third tight end.
Supernaw first signed with the Texans in 2012 after going undrafted out of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, where he was a four-year starter. He had been on and off their practice squad, playing in one regular-season NFL game with no catches.
At Ouachita Baptist, Supernaw caught 64 passes for 710 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore and was named first-team All-Gulf South Conference. He was later a two-time all-conference second-team selection.
The Texans released Supernaw in May, and he signed with the Ravens that month. He was cut by the Ravens during their final major roster cutdown before the season and joined their practice squad.
Ogbuehi played collegiately at Georgia State and has previous NFL stints with the Washington Redskins, the Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns. He was recently cut from the Browns' practice squad.
He was signed by the Dolphins to a reserve-future deal this offseason and later released after spending time on their practice squad last year. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end caught 47 passes for 581 yards in 28 games in college. He has no NFL statistics.
Mulligan, 29, worked out for the Ravens last year, but he wasn't signed. He has previous stints with the Chicago Bears, the New York Jets, the St. Louis Rams, the New England Patriots, the Dolphins, the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers. Primarily a blocking tight end, Mulligan has 14 career catches for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Murphy has previously played for the Oakland Raiders. Davis has played for the Bears, the Browns, the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants.