With the NFL’s Tuesday deadline for roster cut-downs looming, Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and quarterback Trace McSorley returned to practice Monday, coach John Harbaugh said.
Brown, a projected starter, hadn’t practiced since the second day of training camp in late July, when he suffered a hamstring injury. He has two weeks to prepare for the Ravens’ Sept. 13 season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders.
McSorley’s return from a back injury that sidelined him for the Ravens’ final two preseason games clarifies his short-term future. The Ravens can either keep him as the third quarterback on their 53-man roster, behind Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley. Or they can release him by 4 p.m. Tuesday and, barring the emergence of a superior option, hope he clears waivers and sign him to the team’s practice squad.
Harbaugh also cast doubt on the Week 1 availability of two injured contributors. Cornerback Jimmy Smith left practice Aug. 6 with a low-ankle sprain that was expected to sideline him for one to two weeks. But Harbaugh said Monday that the injury “turned out to be a little more serious than we initially thought,” and that Smith will not practice this week.
“He’ll be back, if not next week, [then] very early in the season,” Harbaugh said. “It just didn’t come around as quickly as I think they thought it was going to, in terms of his ankle. But it’s an ankle sprain, just a little slower recovering than they anticipated.”
Smith is expected to make the team’s 53-man roster Tuesday, but the Ravens could move him to injured reserve later this week, sidelining him until at least Week 4 and opening a roster spot for someone else.
Tight end Nick Boyle, who was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list Monday while working his way back from a season-ending knee injury, is “getting close,” Harbaugh said, “but he’s not ready to play yet.” Boyle, one of the NFL’s top blocking tight ends, is expected to be ready “early in the season,” according to Harbaugh, though not for Week 1.
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Players on the reserve/PUP list do not count against a team’s 53-man roster, but they cannot practice or play the first six weeks of the season. Boyle’s activation indicates he could be ready by mid-October. As with Smith, Boyle could be named to the roster Tuesday, then designated for injured reserve.