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Tight End Dennis Pitta Must Make Decision This Week


It's decision time for Dennis Pitta.

The 30-year-old tight end has until Wednesday to officially declare whether he's going to play this season. Pitta opened the year on the physically unable to perform list, and Wednesday marks the last day the Ravens can move him to the 53-man roster.

The team has put the decision in Pitta's hands after he suffered serious injuries to the same hip in back-to-back years, and no announcement is expected before the deadline.

"That's kind of our last day to make a determination, and I don't have an announcement until Wednesday on that," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It's not a black-and-white decision, but this is a decision he has to make with the doctors."

While an announcement on Pitta's status won't come* *for a couple days, Harbaugh made it clear that the tight end wants to continue his football career.

"Dennis is going to play if he can; there's no doubt in my mind, based on what I've talked to him [about]," Harbaugh said. "If it's safe and he feels like he can get out there and the hip is responding well, he's going to play. And if it's not safe, then he's not going to play."

Pitta first returned to the practice field Oct. 21, kicking off a 21-day window where he was allowed to practice without counting against the roster. He has continued to practice for the last three weeks, but hasn't given any update on his future. 

The plan going into those practices was for Pitta to see how his body responded and then make a final call.
"This is obviously a period where we're just trying to kind of get a feel for where I'm at and where I can potentially help the team if it comes to that," Pitta said on Oct. 21.

Based on what the Ravens saw from Pitta during these three weeks of practice, Harbaugh still sees plenty of ability in tight end.

"He did look good in practice," Harbaugh said. "We had a tough time covering him. He was doing stuff from the look team and made a bunch of plays out there and just kind of looked like his old self out there."

If Pitta doesn't feel like he's ready to play again, the Ravens would place him on season-ending injured reserve. Pitta could technically attempt to make a return in 2016, but he previously suggested that it's now or never for him.

"I would like to think that if I can't make it back this year, then what's going to change next year? For me, in my mind, it's kind of [like] I'm working to get back this year, and if I can't, then that might be it," he said.

Pitta has not been wearing a non-contact jersey during the portion of practices open to the media. He has also shown off his development during recent pre-game workouts where he's run full-speed routes to catch passes from the quarterbacks.

Pitta has done more in those pre-game workouts than he did during the non-contact play against Cleveland 13 months ago where he fractured and dislocated the hip for a second time.

The Ravens could certainly use him back in the mix offensively, as the receiving corps has been decimated with injuries. He would immediately become the team's most experienced pass catcher if he gets back in the lineup, and has caught plenty of passes from his good friend Joe Flacco.

Pitta has 138 catches for 1,369 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in his career.

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