Missing practices is one thing, but sitting out of the Ravens' preseason opener against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night was especially grating for first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
"I was really eager," Humphrey said after Saturday's session at M&T Bank Stadium, his first practice after being absent in five straight. "Not playing in that game, I hated not playing in it. But I was faithful in the training staff with them sitting me out and the plan we had to come back this Saturday and practice."
The 6-foot, 197-pound Humphrey had not practiced since Aug. 2 when he was limited to individual drills for unspecified reasons. But he and Sheldon Price, who had missed seven consecutive sessions for undisclosed reasons, were back as the next cornerbacks after starters Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr.
Asked if it was tough to pick up where he left off, Humphrey replied, "I don't want to say too difficult. When you miss a nice little period of time, you definitely have to get back into the groove of things. But I felt pretty good today. I was a little rusty here and there, but overall, I thought I had a pretty good first day back."
Coach John Harbaugh welcomed back Humphrey and Price.
"We were a little thin at corner without those guys," he said. "Obviously, Marlon was making a run for a starting job, and he is in that mix, and Sheldon is making a run for the team. Those guys want to be out there at practice, and they are long, athletic guys who are both having really good camps. I think it just adds to that group. We have a pretty strong group of corners. I am excited about it, and I love seeing them practice."
End zone: Harbaugh declined to describe the team's decision to hold out quarterback Joe Flacco from the remaining three preseason games because of a back injury as precautionary. "I don't think it's important to categorize it any way," he said. "It is the situation as far as him being the most ready to play in the preseason according to the doctors and back specialists, and that's what we go with, what the doctors say." … Harbaugh said the coaches were as surprised as anyone else by news of rookie wide receiver Tim White's thumb injury that will prevent him from playing this season. "All of a sudden, we got a deal, and his thumb's hurting, and he got an MRI, and he had some ligament tears in there. It's just one of those things you've got to get fixed." … Three former Ravens in center Mike Flynn, wide receiver-return specialist Jacoby Jones and cornerback Chris McAlister attended practice.