The Baltimore Ravens received good news on the injury front when veteran tight end Nick Boyle was cleared to resume football activities and removed from the Player Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Monday.
The Ravens have activated TE Nick Boyle from the PUP list. While Boyle is uncertain to play in Week 1, this indicates he could be ready prior to Week 7 (he would have missed 6 games if he stayed on PUP).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 30, 2021
Boyle is arguably the best blocking tight end in the NFL. He is a key cog in the Ravens' offense with the way he serves as fullback when he lines up in the backfield, an extra offensive tackle when he lines on the end of the line and is an underrated underneath target in the passing game.
This news followed reports that starting wide receiver Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown returned to practice for first time since the first day of training camp.
Boyle’s been recovering from season-ending knee injury he suffered last November. He was making good progress before undergoing a minor cleanup procedure which sidelined him for all of training camp and the preseason. Last week, Harbaugh said the team was 'very hopeful' that Boyle would be ready to go for the season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football in two weeks, but that seems unlikely now.
"I don't anticipate him being ready for the first game," Harbaugh said. "I do anticipate him being ready early in the season."
However, this latest development means Boyle is on track to return before the mandatory six weeks he would've had to sit out if had begun the season on the PUP list. He can now placed on short-term injured reserve and miss just the first three games of the year instead of nearly a third of it.
The timing of this news impacts how the rest of the roster will shake out at the position. Tight end Eric Tomlinson will likely still be in the team's plans to start the season whether he makes the initial 53-man roster or is brought back a day or two later once they're able to place others on injured reserve.