During four games in December after being activated, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta proved that his surgically repaired hip was structurally sound. He knocked off the rust quickly, catching 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
However, what Pitta didn't have was his trademark elusiveness after the catch, and he wasn't quite as quick or fast as in the past, which was understandable given the severity of the injury and his accelerated rehabilitation timetable.
“I’d be lying to you if I said I was 100 percent with my explosion and strength,” Pitta acknowledged during a news conference earlier this week to announce his five-year, $32 million contract that includes $16 million guaranteed and an $11 million signing bonus. “I didn’t have any pain and I felt good playing, but kind of that quickness and that explosion wasn’t all the way back, which was expected.”
Now, Pitta says he's getting closer to regaining his old form.
Pitta missed most of 2013 due to a hip injury and he was sorely missed in the Ravens’ passing game. Upon his return, he saw 33 targets in four games, putting him on pace to finish with the 3rd-most targets in the league. It’s not a solid sample size, but it’s still an indicator of what may come. (He finished with the 12th-most targets in 2012.) The big plus for Pitta heading into 2014 is the arrival of new OC Gary Kubiak who has been very TE-friendly throughout his career, specifically with the development of both Shannon Sharpe in Denver and Owen Daniels in Houston.