A day after learning that Crockett Gillmore sustained a potentially significant right knee injury, the Ravens added to their tight end corps by signing former New York Giant Larry Donnell, the team announced Sunday.
Donnell, 28, had been with the Giants since 2012 before hitting free agency this offseason. He didn't attract much interest on the open market and even went to the Indianapolis Colts' minicamp on a tryout basis, but went unsigned.
"It did feel good to put my cleats in the ground again," said Donnell who practiced Sunday night and made a few catches. "It's a great organization. I've been here for only a few days and there's a lot of love. I've made a lot of bonds already. It's just cool to be able to play football again."
His best season with the Giants was in 2014 when he started 12 games and finished with 63 catches for 623 yards and six touchdown receptions. Concussion and neck issues limited him to eight games the following year and Donnell fell down the depth chart and had just 15 catches for 92 yards and one touchdown in 15 games last year.
At 6-foot-5 and 269 pounds, Donnell is not known for his speed and he's struggled as a blocker, but the former Grambling tight end established himself as a nice red-zone target.
The Ravens have been trying to add some depth at tight end after losing Dennis Pitta to a season-ending hip injury and Darren Waller to a season-long suspension. Gillmore's right knee injury, sustained in Friday's practice and believed to be serious, intensified the need.
Donnell joins a tight end group that includes Nick Boyle, Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams and Ryan Malleck. Watson (Achilles) and Williams (knee) are coming off significant surgeries although have fully participated in the first couple of days of training camp practices.
To make room for Donnell on the roster, the Ravens released wide receiver Tim Patrick, an undrafted free agent out of Utah.
Baltimore Ravens Insider
Gillmore, Canady have knee tears: Harbaugh said after Sunday night's practice that Gillmore and second-year cornerback Maurice Canady have cartilage tears in their knees. They were were both injured late in last Friday's practice.
"They have cartilage tears that are usually not season ending," Harbaugh said. "They are going in and getting opinions on Monday, so we'll find out for sure."
Harbaugh applauds crowd: Because of the ongoing renovations at the Under Armour Performance Center, fans aren't permitted to watch training camp practices. So Sunday's practice at M&T Bank Stadium, followed by open workouts on Saturday night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and Aug.12 at M&T Bank Stadium are the only glimpses of summer practices that fans will get.
They turned out well Sunday with an announced crowd of 26,721 attending for the practice and fireworks show that followed.
"I thought it was unbelievable," Harbaugh said. "It is an amazing crowd tonight. The crowd was so into it. I'll tell you, I think this is like one of my favorite days of the whole year about this job. These people get a chance to come in here. It's free, bring your kids. This, to me, is what it's all about. This is why we do what we do. This is what sports are for, for families and people to have a chance to have a night out like this."