The Baltimore Ravens have a handful key players returning from season-ending injuries heading into the 2021 season. Veteran tight end Nick Boyle is one of them.
While he didn't suffer a major setback in his rehabilitation process, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reported that he did have a minor procedure done on his surgically repaired knee:
Ravens TE Nick Boyle had clean-up surgery with his knee, which could sideline him for a chunk of the preseason.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) July 27, 2021
Boyle, one of the top blocking tight ends in the NFL, suffered a season-ending knee injury last November.
Missing some time in the preseason isn't a big deal for a player like Boyle, who is a lock to make the team and likely wouldn't have seen much if any action in the exhibition games. However, this is some cause for concern as far as his availability to start the regular season and could open the door for a player a tight end currently on the bubble to make the initial 53-man roster.
The Ravens value and utilize the tight end position perhaps more than any another team in the league, which made the fact that they began the 2020 with just two on the roster so strange. They appeared to have learned their lesson from being light at such a key skill position and entered this year's training camp with a handful of candidates fighting for the last one or two spots on the depth chart.
Players like rookie fifth-rounder Ben Mason and former third-round pick Josh Oliver were already being viewed as front runners to win a roster spot. With Boyle expected to miss even more time, a path could be forged for a longshot like Eric Tomlinson, Eli Wolfe, or Tony Poljan to potentially make the team. Tomlinson played in eight games for the Ravens last year including the playoffs and would help offset the absence of Boyle in the run game as a blocker.
In an appearance on 'The Lounge' podcast last week, Boyle opened up about his injury, rehab and expected return to action date. He'll have wait a little bit longer before he can lace up his cleats and be a full participant in practice again.