Second-year cornerback Pepe Williams was designated for return to practice from injured reserve Tuesday, opening his 21-day window before he would have to be moved to the 53-man roster.
The fourth-round pick from Houston was expected to compete for an increased role at nickel cornerback but underwent offseason ankle surgery and was sidelined during OTAs, minicamp, and much of training camp. Williams underwent a second ankle surgery and has been on injured reserve since Aug. 31, but his return to practice is another step toward re-joining the roster.
Williams saw action in 14 games as a rookie on defense and special teams, finishing with 22 tackles and two pass breakups.
Williams would add to the Ravens' already deep cornerback rotation that has adapted well to injuries. Brandon Stephens has been a steady presence, starting all 11 games and leading the team in snaps played (742). With Marlon Humphrey (calf) missing his fourth game of the season last week against the Bengals, Ronald Darby saw a big jump in playing time with 31 snaps (51%), while Rock Ya-Sin (19 snaps), veteran nickel corner Arthur Maulet (17 snaps), and Jalyn Armour-Davis (11 snaps) also saw action. Harbaugh said the Ravens hope to get Humphrey back for their Week 12 game against the Chargers.
"We have kind of a deep corner group, and they all want to play," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We'll give guys out there a chance to play and build it going forward."