OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated 75 players on Tuesday by officially placing tight end Dennis Pitta on the reserve physically unable to perform list.
Baltimore also waived offensive linemen De’Ondre Wesley and Darryl Baldwin. The latter had been placed on the non-football injury list on Monday.
Attempting to return from a second right hip dislocation and fracture in two years, Pitta has been running routes and working out on his own, but the 30-year-old has not been fully cleared to return to the field. Head coach John Harbaugh had already said last month that Pitta would begin the regular season on the PUP list, meaning he is not eligible to return until Week 7 at the earliest.
The Ravens prepared all offseason as though Pitta would not be able to return to football by drafting tight ends Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle a year after selecting current starter Crockett Gillmore in the third round of the 2014 draft.
“As far as I’m concerned as a coach, I think you plan for the worst, and you hope for the best,” Harbaugh said. “I’m planning on him not being back. That would be the plan from a football standpoint, and I think he’s planning on being back. It’ll just come down to whether it’s a smart thing to do, and whether it’s what he wants to do, and really, what his family wants to do.”
Wesley injured his knee in the preseason loss to Philadelphia on Aug. 22 and had not returned to the practice field.
Defensive end Lawrence Guy (knee) returned to the practice field on Tuesday, a good sign for a thin group of young defensive linemen going into the preseason finale against Atlanta.
Seven players on the active roster were missing from Tuesday’s workout including wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan (knee) and DeAngelo Tyson (shoulder), cornerback Rashaan Melvin (undisclosed), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (concussion), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee). Second-year defensive end Brent Urban (biceps) remains on the active roster, an indication that the Ravens are considering him placing him on injured reserve with the designation to return.
Teams are only allowed one designation, so the Ravens must weigh the benefits of Urban potentially returning in the second half of the season against the desire to save the option for a potential injury to a more prominent player early in the year.
Williams continues to practice in a red-contact jersey and did not play in the third preseason game against Washington, but Harbaugh would not delve into the specifics of the 2015 second-round pick’s ailments.
“He’s got an issue that we just can’t get him banged around with,” Harbaugh said. “He’s practicing, so he should be there for Denver, but we just want to protect him from a bump. We’ve done that in the past with guys.”