OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after Ravens head coach John Harbaugh lamented rookies not being as “callused up” as they used to be, tight end pick Hayden Hurst was back on the practice field.
The 2018 first-round pick participated in Tuesday’s workout on a limited basis after he hadn’t practiced since last Thursday because of a “soft-tissue” injury. Hurst made an impressive contested catch against cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste and powered past safety DeShon Elliott for a sizable gain during an 11-on-11 period of practice before leaving the field with a member of the training staff with roughly 30 minutes remaining in practice. Harbaugh said that was part of the plan for Hurst’s return.
The 11th-year coach reiterated his commentary on the easier nature of college football practices in recent years was not intended to be a criticism of Hurst or fellow rookie tight end Mark Andrews, who remains sidelined and was dealing with a hamstring injury toward the end of spring workouts.
“Young people are amazing. This generation is going to change the world,” Harbaugh said. “It really is. They’re smart. They want to work, they want to be pushed, they want to do the right thing. That’s been my experience, and I would say to our generation — to my point — [that] we don’t need to be babying them. They’re tough, they want to be great, and let’s not be afraid to push them and bring the best out in them and have high expectations.”
Cornerback Maurice Canady (knee) also returned to practice after receiving Monday off, but the Ravens held out No. 1 corner Jimmy Smith for a second straight day, a deliberate attempt to give him extended rest with all players also having off on Wednesday. Smith has returned from last December’s torn Achilles tendon much sooner than anyone anticipated, so there’s no need to push him too hard so early in the summer.
Rookie offensive lineman Greg Senat and cornerback Bennett Jackson are still sidelined with undisclosed injuries. Guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), linebacker Bam Bradley (knee), cornerback Jaylen Hill (knee), and wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (knee) remain on the active physically unable to perform list.
With quarterback Joe Flacco and starting wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown among a group of veterans excused from practice early, rookie Lamar Jackson took extensive snaps with the remaining members of the first-team offense. It was an inconsistent day for the first-round quarterback, who was picked off by cornerback Marlon Humphrey on the first play of full-team drills and nearly threw another interception on an underthrown pass to wide-open tight end Vince Mayle a few plays later. However, Jackson rebounded to throw a deep completion to speedy wide receiver Tim White and showed plenty of zip on a deep-slant connection to rookie wideout Jaleel Scott.
Jackson struggled with his accuracy during a practice period in which quarterbacks threw to receivers inside the red zone without any defense, misfiring on a number of throws to the end zone.
“There’s a lot going on. We put in a bunch of new plays today, and Joe wasn’t here, so Lamar had the group along with the other two guys (Robert Griffin III and Josh Woodrum),” Harbaugh said. “But that’s all new to him. As much as anything, he’s trying to make sure he gets the play called right in the huddle with the new stuff, and the fact that he’s not really been a play-caller [until this year]. That hasn’t been the offense he’s been in, so he’s doing a good job with that.
“He did make some overthrows, but he also made some really good throws, too. And he made a couple scramble runs that were eye-opening. With a young player, I don’t think you expect perfection, but he looks pretty good out there to me.”