OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Wednesday wasn’t the first time wide receiver Lee Evans tried to get back to the practice field since being sidelined following the Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 18.
But his response to working out was far better this time around, providing optimism that the 30-year-old could make his return to action against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. Evans said he did not experience any setbacks in his first practice since Oct. 12. After last practicing on the Wednesday leading up to the Ravens’ meeting with the Houston Texans, Evans did not respond well and hadn’t attempted to participate until making his return to the practice field on Wednesday.
“It went well,” Evans said before taking part in his second straight practice on a rainy Thursday afternoon. “It was the best I felt in awhile, so we’ll try to build on that [Thursday]. We’ll do a little bit more today and see what happens. Yesterday was positive.”
Evans might find himself battling for a starting position once he returns to action since rookie Torrey Smith has made a name for himself by catching the game-winning touchdown in Pittsburgh and making the critical catch to set up the deciding field goal in the closing seconds against Arizona two weeks ago. The Ravens could elect to limit Evans’ reps — even in games — to protect his injured left ankle and to allow him to re-establish himself in the Baltimore offense before regaining a starting position.
The former Bills receiver is still listed as a starting receiver on the Ravens’ official depth chart.
“It definitely feels good,” Evans said. “It makes you feel like a football player again — get out there, put the pads on, and run around a little bit. We still have a hill to climb, but it’s good to get that step out of the way and still be able to progress forward.”
Center Matt Birk (neck) returned to practice after being the only player on the 53-man roster not to participate in Wednesday’s practice. Left guard Ben Grubbs was also practicing for a second consecutive day and was not even listed on the official injury report for Wednesday.
However, the news wasn’t all good as safety Ed Reed, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (concussion) were not spotted during the opening portion of practice open to the media. As of Wednesday, Ayanbadejo had not been cleared for contact, and the special teams standout practiced on a limited basis.