Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst is active and will make his NFL debut Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
A first-round draft pick (25th overall), Hurst missed the first four games after suffering a stress fracture in August that required surgery. Hurst returned to practice two weeks ago, but he was not active Week 4 against the Steelers.
The Ravens have three tight ends with over 100 yards receiving – Mark Andrews (119 yards), Maxx Williams (119) and Nick Boyle (104) – so there was no reason to rush Hurst into action. Hurst joins the other three tight ends on the active roster, marking the first time the Ravens have dressed four tight ends this season.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said during the week that he looked forward to Hurst’s return.
“Obviously, the kind of player he is is going to help us out,” Flacco said. “But the variation we can have with those guys, the looks that we can create, is just going to make us even more multiple and tougher to defend is the idea. So I think it’s going to help us out a lot.”
Defensive tackle Willie Henry will also make his season debut following hernia surgery in August. While Henry is active, defensive tackle Michael Pierce, one of the team’s best run-stoppers, is inactive after missing practice Friday with a foot injury that he’s been dealing with for weeks.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith is the third Raven who will make his debut after being added to the 53-man roster Saturday. Smith sat out the first four games because of a suspension. The Ravens can now rotate cornerbacks with Smith, Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, who will still start.
Also inactive for the Ravens is quarterback Robert Griffin III, wide receiver Jordan Lasley, cornerback Anthony Averett (hamstring), outside linebacker Tim Williams (hamstring), center Hroniss Grasu and defensive tackle Zach Sieler.
Not active for the Browns is quarterback Drew Stanton, wide receiver Damion Ratley, defensive backs Tavierre Thomas and Denzel Rice, linebacker James Burgess Jr., offensive lineman Earl Watford and defensive lineman Chad Thomas.