The Baltimore Ravens continued to draw closer to full strength ahead of the 2023 season. On Wednesday, third-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman took the practice field for the first time this training camp.
The 2021 first-rounder was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after successfully passing his physical. Bateman’s long-awaited debut marked the first time he took part in practice or organized team activity since receiving a cortisone shot in June to help his surgically repaired foot heal.
Bateman underwent Lisfranc foot surgery last November after a midfoot sprain developed into something worse. It ended his 2022 season after just six games following a torrid start. He recorded 167 receiving yards and pair of touchdowns over first two weeks of the season and was averaging a league-leading 19 yards per catch before he went down.
HOLY BATMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 18, 2022
Tune in on CBS!! pic.twitter.com/iGgfmfFu7w
Injuries have hampered the former University of Minnesota standout during his first two years in the league. They’ve prevented him from staying on the field and establishing himself as one of the top young receivers in the game, although he has shown impressive flashes. He missed the first five games of his rookie season after undergoing groin surgery but returned and looked good in 12 total appearances.
Through 18 career games, Bateman has made nine starts and recorded 61 receptions on 96 targets for 800 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to play in a postseason game as the Ravens missed the playoffs his rookie year and he was on injured reserve for their one-and-done appearance this past January.
After putting all their eggs in the Bateman basket last year, the Ravens not only bolstered but upgraded their wide receiver depth chart during this offseason. They added three-time Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr, veteran Nelson Agholor, and first-round rookie Zay Flowers, all of which have been among the brightest and most consistent standouts during training camp thus far.
Despite the new faces, the Ravens still plan on having Bateman play a featured role in their new offense under first-year Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken. Back in late May, quarterback Lamar Jackson told reporters that Bateman was “WR1, for sure.” While it remains to be seen if that’s still the case come September, it’s nice to see the team’s offensive arsenal inch closer to being fully stocked.
The last player remaining on the PUP list is former second-round running back J.K. Dobbins, who continues to “sit out” as he seeks either a new deal or a pay raise ahead of the final year of his rookie contract. Dobbins has also struggled with injuries during his career thus far and is expected to be a key piece in the offense whenever he returns. That return could be soon according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“The ball is in J.K.’s court,” Harbaugh said Tuesday. “We have talked. We talked again yesterday. We had a great conversation. I do expect him back very soon, but I don’t have anything to say about it. It’s up to J.K., so hopefully that will happen soon.”