Could tight end
That’s fine by Pitta.
Before he was a tight end, Pitta was a wide receiver. A high school wideout, Pitta didn’t convert to tight end until he went to Brigham Young University. And even then, he was more a slot receiver than tight end in their spread offense.
So while Pitta said the notion of playing more wide receiver due to Boldin’s depature hasn’t been presented to him, he’s certainly open to it.
“That’s something I would love to be able to do,” said Pitta, who signed his restricted free agent tender Monday, ensuring he’ll be in Baltimore this season.
“I was able to do a lot of that in college and been able to do a lot of that even here. I feel comfortable being flexed out. It’s a fun position to play and something I would definitely embrace if I was asked to do that.”
While the 6-foot-4 Pitta isn’t proportionally built like 6-foot-1 Boldin, they have similar styles of game. Both attack the ball in the air, can make tough catches in traffic and have a knack for getting open over the middle, important skills for a slot receiver.
“I really like how Anquan plays football,” Boldin said. “He may not be the biggest guy, he may not be the fastest guy, but he does everything that he needs to do to get open, to make plays, to catch the ball strong and make tough catches. I really respect players who do that.
“I try to do that in my own game; I think there’s nothing better than going up and making a strong catch over somebody. I love how he plays and if I can draw comparisons to what he’s been able to do over his career then I think I’m doing something right.”
Pitta broke out as a receiver last season, his third in the league. During the regular season, he caught a career-high 61 passes for 669 yards. He tied Todd Heap’s single-season franchise record for a tight end with seven touchdowns.
Pitta added another three touchdowns in four playoff games, including one in Super Bowl XLVII when he slipped into the middle of a 49ers zone defense. He scored a touchdown after being leveled in the AFC championship in New England and made a huge overtime catch between two defenders in Denver.
After a performance like that, Pitta is starting to become a household name. He was No. 100 on the NFL Network’s list of Top 100 players.
“I barely made it but it was cool,” Pitta said with a laugh. “It feels good to be recognized in that way from your peers. Hopefully I can get a little higher on the list next year but it’s nice to make it.”
Now it could be time for a contract extension. The Ravens, including Owner Steve Bisciotti, have talked about the desire to lock up some of this year’s restricted free agents such as Pitta.
“I would love to be a Raven long-term. I love this organization and obviously the City of Baltimore, and I’ve had a great time playing here,” Pitta said.
“If that opportunity presents itself and I’m able to be here long term, I think I would be excited to jump on that chance. It’s not in my control. All I can do is play my best on the field and hopefully it works out.”