News & Notes: Ravens Express Sympathy for Dez Bryant, Want Him Back

121020-N&N
WR Dez Bryant

A number of Ravens have reached out to Dez Bryant since Tuesday night, when he was scratched just before playing his former Dallas Cowboys.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said it has been a difficult period for Bryant. Harbaugh said after Tuesday's game that Bryant had tested positive for COVID-19.

"He's doing as well as can be expected," Harbaugh said. "He's a guy who cares. He sacrificed a lot to leave home and leave family behind. I think he's pretty hurt by it. Not mad at anybody, but just the circumstances. I think he's a little stunned by it, surprised that it came up. That's where he's at. I think he's trying to work his way through it right now.

"He's a part of our team and I was really happy with his progress and how he was practicing. I was excited for him to play in the game, really excited. I saw him before the game. He was super fired up and excited. That's why I think emotionally, I don't think it's hard to understand why it would be such a tough thing emotionally. Especially where he's at in his career. I think we could all put ourselves in his shoes with that for sure. I'm very sympathetic towards that and understanding of it."

Bryant's teammates wanted him to have a special game against the Cowboys, because they knew how much it would mean to him.

"I hit Dez up after the game," Lamar Jackson said. "We really wanted him out there. We know it was his former team. We know what he wanted to do against that team. He wanted to score, he wanted to compete. That's what he came to us for. I wanted him out there, I just wanted to get him the ball to make him do his thing."

Bryant posted several messages on social media Tuesday night, venting his frustration. He first indicated that he might consider not playing again until next season, but Bryant later tweeted that he did intend to keep playing this season. Harbaugh said he would welcome Bryant back.

"The COVID is 10 days and that's where we're at with it," Harbaugh said. "I can never speak for another person. The Twitter stuff and all that, that's something you'd have to ask him. I don't have any answers to that.

"Ultimately people make decisions for themselves and that's what they have to do. But from my standpoint, absolutely, the answer would be yes to that (returning)."

Jimmy Smith Has a Chance to Play Monday

Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) did not play against the Dallas Cowboys, but he could be in the lineup Monday night against the Cleveland Browns.

Harbaugh said Smith is improving, and his presence in the secondary would be welcomed. The Browns (9-3) are hot and their passing attack was on fire against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, with Baker Mayfield throwing four touchdowns in the first half. Smith played well in the season-opener against the Browns when Baltimore rolled to a 38-6 win.

"We're watching how he progresses this week," Harbaugh said. "He wouldn't have to practice to play. I'd like to see him practice if we can. Just have to see how he feels with it."

Harbaugh Was Never Skeptical About Browns

When Baltimore dominated Cleveland in Week 1, some people wondered if the Browns would struggle this season. But Harbaugh was never skeptical about Cleveland and he was right.

Winners of four straight games, the Browns are already guaranteed their first winning season since 2007, and they have an excellent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

The Browns have an abundance of talent with Mayfield, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt leading the offense, while star defensive end Myles Garrett leads the defense. Harbaugh had some fun with the media Thursday, reminding people that he was bullish on the Browns.

"I said after the season opener that that was a good football team and a lot of you guys just rolled your eyes as I recall," Harbaugh said. "It was pretty easy to see where they were going and what they were building. They're a good football team, they were a good football team then.

"I think Coach (Kevin) Stefanski's done a great job. All their coaches have done a great job. They've been building this team for a long time. There's a lot of really high draft picks on that team to be honest with you. Just a ton of them. They've got a lot of good players. They play hard, competitive, tough. They've always been that way."

Brandon Williams Gives Wolfe Props

When Calais Campbell (calf) missed three games and Brandon Williams (ankle) missed two, the onus fell on Derek Wolfe to be the veteran leader on the defensive line. Wolfe has stepped up in a big way, and he had a season-high nine tackles against Dallas.

"Dude is amazing," Williams said. "Like his last name says, he's a wolf. All he does is hunt. When we were out, me and Calais, he stepped up in a major way. He continued to hold down the defensive line. He continued to just be a leader. Pretty much he's doing exactly what we brought him here for. He's a prototypical Raven and we love him for it."

Wolfe said he's just focusing on doing his job well. But there's no doubt he has become a key addition during his first season with the Ravens after signing as a free agent from the Denver Broncos.

"I didn't feel any pressure to step up," Wolfe said. "I just felt like, 'Hey, I've got to go do my job.' And this is my job, and I love my job, thankfully. I love playing physical. I love when teams try to run the ball right at me. To me, it's like it's a great challenge.

"This year has been wild, and you never know what's going to happen. I'm going to keep being me. I appreciate the fans for all the love that they've shown me. I appreciate the recognition for playing hard. But, that's just what I do. I don't know anything different. I just try to play as hard as I possibly can every snap. I play every snap like it's my last."

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