Tight end Dennis Pitta is closer than ever to returning, according to coach John Harbaugh.
Pitta underwent surgery in July to repair a fractured and dislocated right hip and remains on the injured reserve-designated to return list.
Pitta can return to practice whenever he’s healthy enough. Without Pitta in the lineup, tight ends Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson have combined for only 32 catches for 375 yards and two touchdowns.
“Everything I've been told is that he's on schedule, but I still think it's pretty vague and generic,” Harbaugh said of Pitta, who caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns last season. “We're getting close to that date. I'm interested to hear when he can start practicing again. I've been asking that question. I haven't gotten a 'yes' yet, but he's closer than ever. I have my fingers crossed just like everybody else does.”
Rice hoping for turnaround
Running back Ray Rice has struggled this season, frequently unable to gain more than a few yards at a time.
Named to the Pro Bowl the past three seasons, Rice has rushed for just 259 yards on 97 carries this season and is on pace to finish with 519 yards. Averaging 2.7 yards per run, Rice is the second-lowest ranked running back in average per carry in the NFL.
“Everybody has these situations,” said Rice, who apologized for not doing interviews Sunday following the Ravens' 24-18 loss to the Cleveland Browns. “A down year isn't going to make or break me as a person. I've got broad shoulders.”
In his previous four seasons, Rice had rushed for 1,143, 1,364, 1,220 and 1,339 yards. Despite his downward spiral, Rice said the negative situation hasn't dented his confidence. And Rice insisted that he’s healthy now after dealing with a strained left hip flexor earlier this season.
“My level of confidence is where it was in Week 1,” said Rice, who rushed for just 17 yards on 11 carries to average 1.5 yards per run against the Browns. “I still believe we'll get the run game going. We have the guys. We've just seen some pretty good fronts, and I've battled through stuff this year. The next eight games, I'm just trying to go out there and be the best Ray Rice I can be for the next half of the season.”