It will take a bit of time before Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta knows whether his return to practice on Wednesday will be the first step toward a return to the field for a game, which is OK with him right now.
Pitta had not been in a helmet and pads for 13 months after fracturing his hip last year before taking the field with his teammates Wednesday. The practice opened a three-week window to determine if he’ll play in a game for the Ravens this year. Pitta called that window an “assessment period” that got off to a positive start.
“This is Day 1 of our journey and I think it felt pretty good,” Pitta said, via the team’s website. “I didn’t anticipate feeling this good at this point and being where I’m at. I’m certainly pleased by that. I’m happy to be out here playing football, to be honest. It felt really good.”
Pitta said that he’s had people encourage him to return and others who have discouraged him because he’s suffered the same injury to his hip twice and said he understands the risks “quite well.” He also understands that if he isn’t ready to play for the Ravens this season, he might have played his final NFL down.
“I’d like to think that if I can’t make it back this year, then what’s going to change next year?” Pitta said. “For me, in my mind, I’m working to get back this year. If I can’t, then that might be it.”
There might not be a happy ending to the comeback, but at the very least Pitta will get to find out on the field rather than wondering if he could have played again.