Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta has been advised by his doctors not to play – but the former Super Bowl champion is not ready to hang up his cleats just yet.
He could just cash in on his guaranteed checks for the season and walk away. Instead, he is willing to wait a little bit longer.
Pitta suffered one of the most painful and damaging injuries to a professional athlete – and not just once. He first fractured and dislocated his hip in training camp in 2013, then suffered another one on Septemer 21, 2014, that time without contact.
After undergoing two hip surgeries in as many years, Pitta has been actively practicing for the past three weeks and looked good in practice, but the final call, as Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said last Monday, would be made by the doctors.
Doctors have advised Pitta not to play because it simply is not safe. Pitta has many times said how much he would like to return to the game he loves. And according to Harbaugh, there was no doubt in his mind that Pitta would play if he could. He could have chosen to look the other way and put on his uniform and get out on the field, but in the end, he chose not to do so.
But it doesn’t mean that Pitta is walking from the game completely – not yet, at least. He will continue with his rehabilitation and try to further strengthen his hip.
This marks another frustrating and disappointing year for Pitta, who made just four starts in the past two seasons after breaking out with 61 catches, 669 yards, and seven scores in 2012.
And on Wednesday morning, Harbaugh and Pitta both addressed the media to announce that he won’t be making a return for the rest of the season.
“I am extremely disappointed,” Pitta said.
“I’ve kind of pushed back hard against everything they’ve been saying to really get a good indication of where it’s at. It’s been difficult for me, obviously, accepting the fact that I won’t be out there this season.”
Baltimore signed him to a five-year contract extension even after his first hip injury. The Ravens took a big risk, a leap of faith, confident he will be back to his old self after seeing glimpses of that in just four games at the end of the 2013 season.
“I have a sense of duty to my teammates, and to this team, and to this organization,” stated Pitta. “This organization has given me a lot over the last few years, certainly with the contract extension in the last two years, and I haven’t been on the field much for that.”
Harbaugh was keeping his fingers crossed that Pitta would suit up and get back on the field. But after being in “really in-depth meetings” with Pitta, his wife and doctors, Harbaugh fully understood the very tough decision of Pitta not returning this year.
“His safety going forward as far as quality of life overrides all,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not really close. You don’t bat an eye and you move on.”