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Dennis Pitta can see the end of his career on the horizon

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

You've likely read here and everywhere else that tight end Dennis Pitta is back at practice for the Baltimore Ravens. It's a grand occasion after two fractured hips that the man is back in pads and running routes in an official capacity. We've seen him jogging around on the sidelines and before games and even got a glimpse of him during OTAs, but none of those are in pads and with the team.

It's a happy occasion for the team, for Pitta, and for fans themselves; but you also get the sneaking suspicion that everyone involved knows that this might be false excitement. After two fractured hips, one coming with no contact, few people in the know expect Pitta to actually return to action and even if he can, they expect him to be much less of a player than he was originally. That stench of disappointment is in the air around the glory that is Pitta back on the field and even Pitta notes it.

That’s not really something I think I’m even ready to answer. This is obviously a period where we’re just trying to kind of get a feel for where I’m at and where I can potentially help the team if it comes to that. I’m encouraged by how I felt today and all that, but obviously, I have to shake a little bit of the rust off. I still dropped a pass today, which in my mind is unacceptable. (laughter)The game is a little bit fast for me still right now. That’s certainly expected, but it’s nice to just get my feet wet again.

Dennis Pitta's wife is not exactly thrilled that her husband is giving it another try either.

She’s not really excited about me being out here. She was nervous last night and just didn’t want to get a call that something went wrong today. Like I said, she supports me in everything that I’m doing, and I’m lucky to have her.

Then the questions came about him being able to return at all and it was nice to see a player note that he might have to call it a career before things get too bad.

I would like to think that if I can’t make it back this year, then what’s going to change next year? For me, in my mind, it’s kind of [like] I’m working to get back this year, and if I can’t, then that might be it. But that’s certainly undecided. I don’t really know how to answer.

There’s definitely concern of getting injured, but I think that’s the nature of football. I could go out and blow out my ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] just as easily. That’s part of the risk – the inherent risk – in playing football. That’s something that I understand, and I’ve talked extensively with our doctors and understand those risks quite well. So, that’s part of it.

I think every fan of the Ravens wishes that Pitta can return to the team in full strength and stay healthy for the rest of his career. I also know that every fan wishes that Pitta seriously looks at this practice period and looks at his long term health as well. We'd rather see a Pitta in Baltimore when he's 50 still walking with his family rather than a guy who is hobbled by injuries from giving it a go one more time.

Good luck to tight end Dennis Pitta on the next part of his journey.