Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been reinstated by the NFL after serving a one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Waller, who attended Tuesday’s practice, has not played since the 2016 season, during which he caught 10 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
When the organization selected Waller in the sixth round of the 2015 draft, he was a wide receiver from Georgia Tech. But after his rookie season, the team converted him to tight end.
The Ravens already have six tight ends in incumbents Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and Vince Mayle, 2018 draft picks Hayden Hurst (first round) and Mark Andrews (third) and undrafted rookie Nick Keizer. But offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg seemed to welcome the addition of Waller.
“We’ll see,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s really worked himself. He’s done a lot of things to get back to this point. So what a great opportunity for him. You know what his athleticism is, it’s sort of unique. He’s got a lot of hard work in front of him, but I know this—he’s a very, very tough-minded guy. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he does really well for us.”
To make room for Waller on the 90-man roster, the team waived rookie wide receiver Jaelon Acklin with an injury designation.
Carr welcomes competition
Brandon Carr is the proud owner of the second-longest streak of consecutive starts by an active player in the NFL. Whether the cornerback will add to that streak of 160 starts could depend on his ability to hold off teammate Marlon Humphrey.
Humphrey, the organization’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft, rotated with Carr and Jimmy Smith frequently a season ago. Although he is listed second on the depth chart behind Carr, Humphrey’s potential has caused some to wonder whether he should overtake Carr and start alongside Smith if Smith’s surgically-repaired left Achilles tendon has fully recovered.
The 32-year-old Carr, for his part, welcomes competition from Humphrey, who is 10 years younger.
“I love it, man,” Carr said Sunday. “It allows me to elevate my game. It pushes me. Also, it just gives me someone to just smile at when I see him out there making plays, and to see the strides he made from last year to this year. … I love to start. I love to play football, but I like to win football games. I’m proud of the guys out there making plays, and I’m proud of myself for making plays as well. It’s just all about ‘iron sharpens iron.’ Competition is great. It’s just going to breed a lot of greatness across the board.”
In addition to Jefferson, the Ravens practiced Tuesday without outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Tyus Bowser, guards Maurquice Shakir and rookie Randin Crecelius, wide receiver Tim White and safety Bennett Jackson. Running back Kenneth Dixon and tight end Maxx Williams left practice early.
Wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (upper leg muscle), linebacker Bam Bradley (ACL) and cornerback Jaylen Hill (right ACL, MCL) are still on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson said Monday that he “played alright” in the win against Chicago, but could have played better. Mornhinweg agreed with that sentiment, adding, “I want him to take the next step. What does that mean? Play quarterback. … Play the quarterback position and that means many, many different things. There’s about three things that we emphasized this week.” … Rookie Janarion Grant spoiled a potential punt return for a touchdown by taunting the Rams with the football, which earned him a penalty flag from an official and an earful from special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg. Asked about the play, Rosburg replied, “We’re looking for a returner, and there’s a competition every day in practice. I don’t know who our returner is going to be at this point, but he’s not going to be getting taunting fouls — I can assure you that.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker contributed to this article.