Five days after he reaffirmed his decision to retire because of a congenital spinal condition, former Ravens weak-side linebacker Zachary Orr attended Wednesday's practice at the Under Armour Performance center.
Orr sat with general manager Ozzie Newsome and then went on the field to hug his former coaches and teammates. Orr was razzed by his ex-teammates because of his slimmer physique, with Terrell Suggs questioning whether the team's leading tackler last season was returning as a safety, and safety Anthony Levine Sr. questioning whether Orr was going to become a fitness model.
Coach John Harbaugh has said that the organization would like to hire Orr in a scouting or coaching capacity.
Offensive pieces remain missing: Among the team's 13 absences from Wednesday's practice were four expected Week One starters on the offense. Flacco, running back Danny Woodhead (hamstring), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (undisclosed) all remained sidelined.
Perriman has been out since Aug. 1 while Stanley last practiced Aug. 12. Woodhead hurt his hamstring in the first half of the Dolphins game Aug. 17. At this point, none of the four appear likely to return for a preseason game. However, the hope is they'll be ready to face the Bengals in Week One.
Reserve offensive tackle Stephane Nembot (knee), linebacker Donald Payne (undisclosed) and cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey (hamstring) and Brandon Boykin (undisclosed) also remain sidelined. Humphrey aggravated a hamstring injury against Miami.
"It is very disappointing," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Humphrey's absence. "This is a great opportunity for him. We want to see what he can do out there and it is not his fault, it is not our fault. It is what it is. But, it is disappointing and hopefully we can get him out there soon."
After the team had two days off, wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (knee), linebacker Tim Williams (undisclosed) and cornerback Robertson Daniel (undisclosed) returned to practice Wednesday.
Defense feeling special: Cornerback Jimmy Smith acknowledged that he's played with plenty of star players on the Ravens defense in the past. However, he said that he's not sure any of the defenses he's been on are as cohesive as the current group.
"The way we gel and how cohesive we are as a unit, it has been different since I have been here," Smith said. "We have had tight core groups, but this one is different in the sense that everybody on defense is together. It sounds kind of corny to say, but it is like we really are all friends. … This year it is a special unit. We feel it. I think the defense as a whole feels it. We know it, and like I said over and over, you have to prove it now."
End zone: Mornhinweg has been impressed by tight end Maxx Williams' return from knee surgery. "As recent as three weeks ago, Maxx was still rehabbing this thing. Then, all of a sudden, it was 10 days, two weeks ago, Maxx hit it. He's running fast," Mornhinweg said. "I think Maxx is back and even better than he was when he first got here before the injury. I think he's doing a fantastic job right now. We'll see if he can keep coming." … Asked what he can take from his defense being ranked first in virtually every category through two preseason games, Pees joked, "It is better than being last. That is what I can take from that."