The Baltimore Ravens may have a new weapon on the practice field to help simulate big Steelers receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool, and he has quite a pedigree of his own.
“My emotions running high right now,” Bryant wrote on Twitter. “I’m thankful. … I can’t stop crying.”
The Ravens officially signed veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad on Tuesday, and he is expected to get to work this week to help Baltimore prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bryant, 31, last played in 2017 with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and once an NFL All-Pro in his eight seasons in Dallas, racking up 531 career catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns.
He attempted to play in the 2018 season with the New Orleans Saints, but tore his achilles before the season, spent the year on injured reserve and has not been on an NFL roster since.
Bryant could play on Sunday, even if he remains on the practice squad, as NFL teams are permitted to activate up to two practice squad players per game this year, though it’s unclear what the Ravens plans are for the veteran receiver.
They have been looking for someone to take attention away from No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown, with Willie Snead, Miles Boykin and rookie Devin Duvernay all getting extensive playing time this season.
Brown leads the Ravens with 42 targets, 26 receptions, 376 and receiving yards, but has scored just one touchdown on the season.
Ravens Discipline Staff Member for Actions Regarding COVID-19 Outbreak
The Baltimore Ravens have disciplined one of their staff members for conduct surround the team’s recent COVID-19 outbreak, the team announced on Wednesday.
The Ravens have placed seven players on the COVID-19 reserve list, including three additions on Wednesday: defensive tackle Calais Campbell, center Patrick Mekari and center Matt Skura.
Those came in the wake of linebacker Pernell McPhee being placed on the list on Tuesday and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram and nose tackle Brandon Williams on Monday.
The continued positive cases within the Baltimore organization, which also include at least four staff members, caused the team’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers that was scheduled for Thursday to be pushed back to Sunday.
There has been no word if there will be discipline from the NFL. Both the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders have been disciplined for their actions that led to outbreaks on both teams.
COVID-19 Positive Ravens Players Could Possibly Play Sunday
With the NFL moving the Pittsburgh Steelers game with the Baltimore Ravens from Thursday to Saturday, that means that Baltimore players that were identified as close contacts of positive cases on Monday or Tuesday will be able to play in the contest after five days of isolation.
It also means that there’s a small chance some of the Ravens positive players could play, as well. The only two confirmed player positives so far have been running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram.
If those players remain asymptomatic and are able to return back-to-back negative tests separated by 24 hours after sitting out five days before Sunday’s game, they will be permitted to play. If they show symptoms, they must sit out at least the full 10 days before returning.
It’s unclear exaclty how many player positives the Ravens have had at this point. They’re expected to place more players on the COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday.
Report: Ravens May Wait Until Thursday to Fly to Pittsburgh
If you’re traveling out of Pittsburgh International Airport on Thursday morning for the holiday, be on the look out for some purple-clad visitors.
The Baltimore Ravens are considering taking the unusual step of flying in the day of the game in response to their continued COVID-19 issues.
The Ravens have placed four players on the COVID-19 reserve list this week, including running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, who have confirmed positive cases. Nose tackle Brandon Williams and linebacker Pernell McPhee will also miss the game.
There is significant risk that the team may still have positive cases that have not yet popped up in a positive test at this point, and as a result, the team is considering waiting until Thursday to make the trip to Pittsburgh in advance of the 8:20 p.m. kickoff Thanksgiving night, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
“They could actually fly day of game to let the situation calm down, to get more information, to get more contact tracing, to just get everything you’d need to know about who possibly could be at risk here,” Rapoport said Wednesday morning. “The game, as of right now, is still on.’
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 25, 2020
NFL teams typically fly in the evening before their games and then fly back immediately after the game, but given the late start time and the short flight from Baltimore (about 50 minutes on average), flying out on Thursday is a tenable adjustment to the usual protocols.