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Report: Dennis Pitta Plans To Return In 2016


Dennis Pitta is not ready to call it quits.

The veteran tight end will reportedly attempt to return in 2016 after missing all of last season recovering from a fractured and dislocated hip, according to a report from Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.

Pitta has not confirmed the report, and an official statement from the Ravens read, "When Dennis has an announcement to make, he'll make it."

Pitta, 30, has fractured and dislocated the same hip twice in the last three years. He first suffered the injury during the 2013 training camp. He returned to play the final four games of that season and then signed a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $32 million. Pitta suffered the injury the second time on a non-contact play in the third game of the 2014 season and has not played since that point.

Pitta has never completely ruled out a return.

After doctors determined it would be unsafe for him to return last season, Pitta said, "Certainly there's no plans to retire at this time. I'm going to continue to rehab and it's something we'll continue to evaluate."

The report from FOX Sports says that Pitta will participate in the offseason program when it opens next week, with the hope of being ready for full contact when training camp opens late July.

That plan isn't much different than the path Pitta took last season. He opened the year on the physically unable to perform list and then returned to practice for three weeks. During those three weeks of practice, the hip did not respond the way he hoped and the doctors advised him not to return for game action.

"Obviously, we wanted to see no issues at all," Pitta said in November. "There were things both on and off the field that weren't feeling right, and were certainly feeling different from the first time around. I have a little experience with this injury, so I know how it should have felt and needed to feel."

The offseason program will be a chance for Pitta to see how the hip recovered since the end of last season. None of the offseason practices are full contact, so that's a chance to ease him back into to the mix.

The team's former starter will join a crowded tight end corps that includes Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and converted receiver Darren Waller. A potential holdup on Pitta's return was the fact that he was scheduled to carry a $7.2 million cap  hit this year, but Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reported that Pitta has agreed to a contract restructure.

The exact terms of the deal were not released, but Zrebiec reported that it will be an incentive-laden deal that allows Pitta to make back up to $5 million of his base contract.

The 2010 fourth-round pick was a highly productive player and vital piece in the run to Super Bowl XLVII before the injuries. He has 138 career receptions for 1,369 yards and 11 touchdowns. Pitta shares a special connection with quarterback Joe Flacco and the two are good friends off the field.

After the Ravens reportedly worked out a restructured contract with Pitta, the team cut tight end Chase Ford. 

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