OWINGS MILLS, MD — Dennis Pitta’s career as a Raven, and likely in the NFL, is over.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Ravens released the tight end with an injury waiver. This comes just five days after the 31-year-old suffered a third hip dislocation in four years. The injury was non-contact, and occurred in an OTA practice that was closed to the media.
No one, including Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, has addressed the media since Pitta’s injury, but after practice on Friday, General Manager Ozzie Newsome released a statement going over the sad details of Pitta’s injury:
Pitta re-negotiated his contract with the Ravens early this offseason, which included an injury waiver and a $2.5 million pay-cut over the next two seasons. By releasing Pitta with the waiver included, the Ravens will save about $2 million in cap space. No roster moved have been made since Pitta’s release, but that $2 million could help the Ravens’ chances in signing free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, or possibly Eric Decker, who the New York Jets are looking to trade or release.
Pitta came back last season after missing the entire 2015 season and the majority of the 2014 season. Despite missing all that time, he led all tight ends in the NFL with 86 receptions. He was the only tight end on the Ravens’ roster to start all 16 games, and set career highs in receptions and reception yards (729). He proved to be Joe Flacco’s favorite receiving target, finishing the season with two touchdowns and 121 targets, more than any player in Baltimore’s passing game.
Pitta finishes his career with 224 receptions for 2,098 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught seven touchdowns in the 2012 season, and was one of the biggest weapons on the Super Bowl 47-winning offense.
With his release, Pitta is technically a free agent, but will be undergoing yet another hip surgery and long rehab process. No announcements have been made about his football career, but all are assuming that Pitta will retire after a third injury to the same hip.