Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced that center Bradley Bozeman suffered a minor ankle sprain during the team’s preseason victory over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night, further complicating the team’s picture at offensive line.
Bozeman came out of the locker room at the start of the third quarter in street clothes after the team said he was questionable to return.
Bozeman played in the Ravens’ first four drives before heading into the medical tent and eventually making his way towards the locker room at M&T Bank Stadium. Second-year player Ben Bredeson replaced Bozeman under center.
The Ravens are dealing with a slew of injuries along the offensive line. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley is returning from ankle surgery after suffering a season-ending injury early in 2020, while left guard Ben Cleveland, a third-round draft pick, sat out Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury. Right guard Kevin Zeitler, who signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal this offseason, is sidelined with a foot sprain.
Bozeman headed into the season as the Ravens’ starting center after playing left guard the past two seasons. The 2018 sixth-round draft pick started at center in college at Alabama. He finished with a top-10 run-block and pass-block win rate among NFL guards in 2020, according to ESPN.
Center has been a position of intrigue for the Ravens, who moved on from starter Matt Skura this offseason after his issues snapping the ball. In the Ravens’ playoff defeat, with Patrick Mekari in at center against the Buffalo Bills, quarterback Lamar Jackson’s attempt to salvage a snap that soared over his head led to an intentional-grounding penalty and a season-ending concussion.
Who’s in, who’s out
Linebacker Kristian Welch exited the game in the third quarter because of a shoulder stinger, Harbaugh said.
Starting quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Gus Edwards also sat out. Harbaugh said after the game that Edwards missed the game because of personal family matters.
Jackson was in uniform during pregame warmups, but walked out of the locker room in a T-shirt and sweats once the game started. Tight end Mark Andrews, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, defensive end Calais Campbell, edge rusher Justin Houston and defensive tackle Brandon Williams, all starters, did not suit up for the game.
Harbaugh said after practice Thursday that when it comes to preseason, they have a rotation for different players and try to balance it among the starters. “Every preseason game is pretty much the same,” Harbaugh said. “For specific players, age-related, position-related, we’ll approach it individually that way.”
Other Ravens who did not play include wide receivers Rashod Bateman, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Deon Cain and Miles Boykin, offensive linemen Stanley, Cleveland and Zeitler and fullback/tight end Patrick Ricard.