Will Dennis Pitta Go in the Ring of Honor?
Dennis Pitta is "not delusional" about his future. As my colleague, John Eisenberg, wrote, Pitta sounded like he knows he is done playing football.
If it is indeed the end after a third hip dislocation, fracture and surgery, the question is how Pitta will be remembered in Ravens history.
The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck set the bar high, writing that the next time any fan should want to see Pitta is "when the Ravens induct him into the team's Ring of Honor."
"Of course, that isn't a slam dunk," Schmuck wrote. "Pitta spent seven seasons with the Ravens, but the repeated hip injuries limited him to less than half that time as Joe Flacco's go-to tight end.
"But there's a lot about his story that makes the big Ring at M&T Bank Stadium seem appropriate."
Schmuck first makes the on-field case.
Pitta was instrumental in the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl season, catching 61 passes for 669 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns. He was clutch in the playoff run, hauling in 14 passes for 163 yards and three scores, including a second-quarter touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.
Last year, after two hip surgeries and "against all the odds," Pitta played in all 16 games and led all NFL tight ends with 86 receptions. He also posted a career-high 729 receiving yards.
However, Pitta only played six seasons for the Ravens and caught a total of 224 passes for 2,098 yards and 13 scores.
As Schmuck wrote, Pitta could have been projected to post stats similar to those of good friend Todd Heap, who went into the Ring of Honor in 2014, but didn't get the chance.
"But the most important reason why he has a chance to transcend any reservations about his longevity and career statistics to be recognized as one of the all-time great Ravens is pretty simple," Schmuck wrote.
"He has long been a favorite of owner Steve Bisciotti, which was obvious Wednesday as Pitta watched minicamp practice from the owner's golf cart and Thursday when Bisciotti attended his podium session."
Schmuck cites the five-year, reported $32 million extension Bisciotti approved for Pitta in early 2014, despite him coming off his first hip dislocation.
"There are no set statistical standards for the Ring of Honor," Schmuck wrote. "The inductees are chosen by the organization based on their contributions to the team, which means they are — ultimately — chosen by Bisciotti."
Schmuck pointed to other Ravens who could also make a Ring of Honor case: wide receiver Derrick Mason, cornerback Chris McAlister and former head coach Brian Billick. Schmuck said Billick is the next man up.
Eric Decker Signs With Titans. Should Ravens Have Pounced?
So much for all that chatter about the Ravens possibly doubling up on free-agent wide receivers Jeremy Maclin AND Eric Decker.
Decker signed a one-year contract with Tennessee Sunday night, giving quarterback Marcus Mariota another weapon after the Titans also drafted Western Michigan's Corey Davis in the first round.
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Decker didn't land in Baltimore. Bisciotti poured cold water on the idea of adding another wideout during a conference call with Ravens season-ticket holders last week. The money can be spent elsewhere.
"If I have one bullet left in that gun, I better save it for an offensive lineman," Bisciotti said, referencing being tight against the salary cap.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec also thought passing on Decker makes sense.
"The question is not whether Decker would help the Ravens. He's a good player, so he almost certainly would," Zrebiec wrote. "But the Ravens' biggest area of concern right now is the offensive line, so it makes absolute sense to devote the little salary-cap space the team has remaining on upgrades there."
Bisciotti made it clear how the Ravens see their wide receiver corps now.
The top three spots are for Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, and second-year fourth-round pick Chris Moore will take the fourth. The fifth and sixth spots will be a battle between Michael Campanaro, Chris Matthews, Keenan Reynolds and others.
Adding Decker would have been an odd pairing after the Maclin signing considering there wouldn't really have been an opportunity for him to get many snaps. The Ravens are full at starting wide receivers and still have a bounty of tight ends after Pitta's injury.
Myles Garrett Is Injured, Will Return for Camp
The rival Cleveland Browns are already without the top pick of the 2017 draft.
Outside linebacker/defensive end Myles Garrett has been diagnosed with a lateral foot sprain, according to the team.
Garrett suffered the injury during minicamp on Wednesday and limped off the field at the practice's conclusion, according to NFL Media's Nick Shook. He was seen in a walking boot at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport on Friday, sending the city into some mild panic.
Alas, it's not a big deal, as Garrett is expected back on the field at the start of training camp.
"If you need something to stress over to keep your motor going, feel free to connect this injury to an ankle injury suffered at Texas A&M," Shook wrote. "Rational thought will instead tell you to shelf any worry about his foot. Breathe easy, Northeast Ohio."
Ravens' Father's Day Messages
Hopefully you already saw this video featuring first-round pick Marlon Humphrey, tight end Maxx Williams, offensive guard Alex Lewis and Perriman talking about their NFL-playing dads.
Many more players gave their papas a shout out on social media yesterday. Check out all the love: