OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After more than a month of uncomfortable waiting, the Ravens finally welcomed franchise quarterback Joe Flacco back to the practice field on Saturday.
Missing all of training camp and the preseason with a back ailment, the 32-year-old was back on the field just eight days before Baltimore’s season opener in Cincinnati. Flacco was immediately working with the first-team offense and looked sharp throwing passes to receivers during the portion of the workout open to the media.
“It feels good to be back out here with the guys and be a part of everything again,” Flacco said in a statement released by the team. “Really, it’s been a weird situation the last few weeks, because it’s just something you have to wait out. You’re putting in all the hard work you can, but at the same time, it’s a waiting game. You definitely have to fight against not doing anything, but also keep your mind fresh.
“But for today, it was awesome being back on the field — just like it always is — and to be with my guys. I feel excited about the season we have coming up.”
Head coach John Harbaugh had confirmed earlier in the week that Flacco had begun throwing and other football-related activity in preparation for his imminent return to the practice field.
“Joe looked good. He practiced very well,” Harbaugh said. “Now, one of the next pieces is to see how he responds to that over the next few days.”
Flacco wasn’t the only offensive player to return to practice as former first-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman and veteran running back Danny Woodhead were present and working after extended absences due to injury. Harbaugh expressed optimism earlier this week that Perriman would soon return from a significant hamstring injury suffered on Aug. 1.
Baltimore did not announce any further roster cuts prior to Saturday afternoon’s practice, but quarterback Josh Woodrum, linebacker Brennen Beyer, offensive tackle Stephane Nembot, and cornerbacks Jaylen Hill, Sheldon Price (concussion), Robertson Daniel, Brandon Boykin, and Maurice Canady (knee) were all absent as the team practiced indoors.
The Ravens also announced during practice that they acquired center Luke Bowanko from Jacksonville for an undisclosed draft selection. The 2014 sixth-round pick started 14 games as a rookie, but he lost his starting job in 2015 and missed most of last season with a hip injury. He has played in only eight contests over the last two seasons.