The Ravens are now without their top wide receiver, as Rashod Bateman has opted to undergo season-ending Lisfranc foot surgery.
Bateman originally injured the foot on Oct. 2 against the Buffalo Bills, sat out two games, then reaggravated the injury in his second game back in Tampa Bay on Oct. 27. His sophomore season ends with six games played.
The Ravens had already determined that Bateman's injury was going to sideline him for a few weeks, and it likely would have been painful to play through beyond that. Instead, surgery allows him to get back to full speed next season sooner.
"It was one of those ones where it was up to him; he, and his agent and his family talked it over, and they decided it would be in his best interest to do that," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "So, we support him on that; we understand what he's doing."
On Instagram, Bateman said it's the "darkest times of them all for sure."
It's a tough blow for the Ravens' top 2021 draft pick, as his first two seasons have both been shortened by injury. Last year, Bateman had core muscle surgery after a training camp injury, which sidelined him for the first five weeks of his rookie season.
Bateman returned to play in every game and catch 46 passes for 515 yards and one touchdown last season. That gave him the confidence that he could step into the No. 1 role in the Ravens' wide receiver corps this season after Baltimore traded Marquise "Hollywood" Brown to the Cardinals.
Bateman got off to a hot start this season, catching a touchdown in each of the Ravens' first two games, including a 75-yard catch and run against the Dolphins in Week 2. Bateman's sophomore season will end with 15 receptions for 285 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's just a fact, and you move forward with it. He'll move forward with it," Harbaugh said. "Rashod is a great guy. He really wants to be out there, he wants to play, wants to have a career, wants to do well. That's not going to change. Different things happen in life; there's roadblocks sometimes, and sometimes the best way is to just go through it. That's what he's doing right now. He'll come back stronger than ever, and before the story is written, he's going to have his day in the sun."
The Ravens will now have to lean more on Devin Duvernay, Demarcus Robinson, James Proche II, veteran addition DeSean Jackson and Tylan Wallace, as well as their tight ends.
Lamar Jackson was just hearing the news of Bateman's surgery after practice.
"That's my guy, you know? We were looking forward to having a great, long season, but God had other plans," Jackson said. "But I wish him a speedy recovery. And we've got a lot of great guys in our receiving group, and I've got full, 100% confidence in those guys are going to make things happen for us this season."
With Bateman and tight end Mark Andrews sidelined for the second half in Tampa Bay, the Ravens put up more than 200 rushing yards and pulled away from the Bucs in a 27-22 victory. Still, losing a player as talented as Bateman will be a hurdle to get over for the Ravens offense the rest of the season.
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley called it a "huge loss."
"A competitor like that who plays at a high-level, that threatens the defense… We're obviously going to miss him," Stanley said. "But at the same time he knows and we all know that we can't kind of sulk around. We have to move forward, and as much as we miss him, we have confidence in our young guys to step up."