Former Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta led the team with 86 receptions. Pitta's outstanding season came after he overcame two hip dislocations that caused him to miss the last two seasons.
Pitta suffered his third hip injury during non-contact drills in OTAs last month. The injury will likely spell the end of the road for Pitta's playing career. While it is unlikely that Pitta will play again, he takes solace in being able to make a comeback last year.
"I’ll certainly feel satisfaction when I look back at that year and know all that I overcame and all that I was able to accomplish," Pitta said during a press conference last week. "As a team, we fell short of a lot of our goals, which was disappointing, but for me personally, I’ll look back on that year and understand it was something special and something that I was able to personally overcome a lot of adversity."
Pitta said he felt great before last season and expected to play at a high level once again. Even before the injury, Pitta felt like he was returning to his pre-injury form.
He has always been one of quarterback Joe Flacco's favorite targets. The two have connected multiple times since Pitta entered the NFL in 2010. Before last season, Pitta's best season came in 2012 when the Ravens became Super Bowl champions.
Flacco and Pitta connected for seven touchdowns that season, which is a career high for the seven-year tight end.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh who has a special relationship with all of his players expressed his gratitude for the work that Pitta put in.
"It has just been an honor and a privilege to coach him— but even more so to be around him every day, to compete, to know his family and be friends," Harbaugh said at a press conference after minicamp. "He is just a great guy— a great Raven. I am very proud of everything he has done here."
Pitta admitted a comeback isn't likely but isn't ruling it out. He says he is taking things day by day rather than making long-term projections.
"I haven’t put a lot of thought into what my future holds or what’s going to happen. I’m just trying to focus on my rehab at this point, but I feel pretty good," Pitta explained. "Obviously, I dislocated and fractured my hip again, which is the third time. Surgery went well, and I’m feeling pretty good and hopeful that I can make a full recovery."
The NFL is a business and unfortunately, the Ravens released Pitta after the injury. They saved $2.5 million in cap space by letting him go. It was a bittersweet move for the Ravens front office.
"Dennis is one of the great Ravens, and he has done everything he can to make our team better," General Manager Newsome said Friday after the injury."
Pitta returned to the facility, even after he was released. It shows the closeness that the organization has to him. While things didn't end the way Pitta wanted them to, he still has plenty of love for the Ravens.
"The organization has been tremendous, obviously, and welcomed me back and allowed me to come watch practice and hang out and be a part of things, which I think is tremendous," Pitta explained. "I can’t say enough good things about all that this organization has done for me and everything they’ve given me and my family, and the opportunities they’ve provided me. So, I’m just extremely grateful and happy to be around the guys again."