It does not look like Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore or cornerback Maurice Canady will be missing the entire year. Both players hurt their knees late last week and coach John Harbaugh provided an update on their condition Sunday.
“They have cartilage tears that are not season-ending usually,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s website. “But they’re going in and getting opinions on Monday, so we’ll find out for sure.”
The first practice of Ravens training camp isn’t until Thursday, but there’s early positive news.
Quarterbacks and injured veterans reported Friday, and with it came the return of third-year tight end Maxx Williams to the field.
Williams had a rare knee surgery last year, which landed him on injured reserve on Oct. 7 after just four games. More than nine months later, Williams stepped back onto the field in his helmet and jersey for the first time Saturday.
It’s still early in his return, but Williams has a chance to emerge. The Ravens have a lot of uncertainty at tight end this year. Dennis Pitta was released after a third hip surgery and veteran Benjamin Watson is returning from a torn Achilles. Crockett Gillmore is trying to stay healthy after being plagued the past three years. Darren Waller has been suspended for the entire season. Nick Boyle is the only experienced tight end without a question mark.
I've read and heard it suggested that the TE situation is dire enough that the Ravens should sign a proven veteran tight end such as Gary Barnidge, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, to ensure they have someone who can handle the job.
But I think it's too soon to suggest the Ravens absolutely have to make a move. It's possible this could end up being a summertime worry that fades.
Keep an eye on Ben Watson. He's one year removed from a 74-catch season, and he's a pro's pro, adept at both blocking and catching. It was apparent at the team's mandatory minicamp last month that he is in terrific shape. He was on the field for some drills.
The Ravens looked very good at the position with six TEs not that long ago, but now there are major questions. Dennis Pitta's hip injury likely means his football career is over. Darren Waller is suspended for a year. That leaves Watson, Nick Boyle, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams. It seems the team is really counting on the return of Watson to lead the way this season with Boyle also possibly getting a good look.