The next three weeks will be pivotal period not only in Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta's season, but also his career.
Pitta, working his way back from a twice dislocated hip, returned for his second straight day of practice Thursday, 13 months after he suffered the injury in Cleveland. Baltimore has a 21-day window to activate Pitta from the physically unable to perform list or he'll be forced to miss the remainder of the season. If he's not activated, Pitta may end up calling it a career.
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"I would like to think that if I can't make it back this year, what's going to change next year?, Pitta said via CSN Mid-Atlantic. "In my mind, it's kind of, I'm working to come back this year -- if I can't, then that might be it."
Pitta is well aware that his career hangs in the balance, and the decision to come back is one that he isn't taking lightly. He's received opinions from both sides of the spectrum, and said even his wife is worried about his return.
"She was nervous last night, just didn't want to get a call that something went wrong today," Pitta said. "She supports me in anything that I do."
As much as head coach John Harbaugh could use another offensive weapon for his 1-5 team, he's exercising extreme caution.
"It's Dennis' decision, along with his family," Harbaugh said before Wednesday's practice. "He's going to see how he feels out there, and how he responds ... When you put the kind of work he's put in, and you see what he's done every single day. Wherever it goes, we'll see. But I'm just really uplifted for him."
If his first day was any indication, Pitta may be ahead of schedule. He said that he didn't anticipate feeling as good as he did, and the fact that he was back again Thursday is promising.
"It's good for me to be back out there, emotionally, mentally, and I felt pretty good physically," Pitta said after Wednesday's practice. "It's just a start. It's day one. I'm encouraged by how I felt today. Obviously I have to shake a little bit of the rust off. The game's a little bit fast for me still right now. I didn't anticipate feeling this good at this point, being where I'm at. I'm certainly pleased by that."