OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens entered training camp with extensive depth at tight end, a strength that has already been tested substantially.
After losing veteran Benjamin Watson to a torn Achilles tendon in August, the Ravens have now placed second-year tight end Maxx Williams on injured reserve. The 2015 second-round pick aggravated a lingering cartilage issue in his knee in the Week 4 loss to Oakland and will undergo season-ending surgery in the near future.
Head coach John Harbaugh said Williams initially damaged the knee in a game against San Francisco last October. He will meet with specialists to determine the specifics of the surgery to have him ready for the 2017 season.
“The way the knee is built just made it worse,” Harbaugh said. “We were hoping to get him through the season and then get something done at the end of the season, but it has just flared up too many times now for his well-being and his future. As he told me yesterday, ‘I’m 22 years old. I have a career in front of me. Let me take care of this right now.'”
With veteran Dennis Pitta and third-year tight end Crockett Gillmore ahead of him on the depth chart, Williams had yet to be targeted by quarterback Joe Flacco in four games after he set the rookie franchise record for receptions (32) and receiving yards (268) as a rookie in 2015. Williams joins defensive tackle Carl Davis as early 2015 draft picks on IR for Baltimore this season.
Harbaugh had indicated at the beginning of the week that Williams’ status for the remainder of the season could be in doubt, a reality that led to the Ravens promoting tight end Daniel Brown from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Wednesday. Darren Waller, a 2015 sixth-round pick, could also be activated after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
The Ravens must make a decision on what to do with the open roster spot by 4 p.m. on Saturday to make that player eligible to play against Washington.
“I do think special teams will play into this decision pretty dramatically,” Harbaugh said. “We have guys on our practice squad that are doing a really good job that can help us. We’ll figure that out.”