After essentially two seasons lost, Dennis Pitta isn't ready to walk away from his NFL career, and the Ravens will allow him to continue to work through the process in Baltimore.
On Wednesday, the Ravens officially announced a contract restructure that will keep Pitta in Baltimore as he attempts to return from a second major hip dislocation and fracture.
The details of the contract restructure are not being released by the team. Reports indicate he will be able to earn back any paycuts in incentivies.
"Dennis wants to continue his playing career, and we want to give him that opportunity," General Manager Ozzie Newsome stated. "We have reworked his contract, and we're excited to help him with his comeback. Everyone here wants Dennis to succeed."
Pitta was reportedly due $5 million in base salary ($7.2 million cap hit) this season and was likely not going to be kept at that price.
The contract restructure works for both sides. It means the Ravens can still potentially get their star tight end back, and it means Pitta gets another chance with the team that knows him (and his injury) best. Other teams may not have had much interest in a player coming off two major hip injuries who hasn't played in such a long time.
"I am thankful for this opportunity to continue my career," Pitta stated. "I'm excited to get back to work with my teammates and for this organization. Physically, I feel great and am ready to begin building toward a successful 2016 season."
Pitta is entering his seventh season. He signed a five-year contract following the 2014 season, in which he returned from the first hip injury after missing 12 games.
The former fourth-round pick attempted to get back on the field last season, and even participated in weeks of practice mid-season, but eventually remained on the physically unable to perform list.
He said then that he still felt some discomfort, particularly in cold weather. Pitta will still have hurdles to get over in order to make earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
If he can make it back, Pitta will bolster the Ravens' already strong tight end corps featuring Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle. Pitta was once seemingly quarterback Joe Flacco's favorite target.
Seeing action in 50 regular-season games (11 starts), Pitta has recorded 138 receptions for 1,369 yards and 11 touchdowns. In six postseason contests, he has produced 21 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns.