Six days before opening the 2022 season on the road against the New York Jets, the Ravens finally welcomed former All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley back to practice.
Suiting up and taking the field with his Baltimore teammates for the first time since the 2021 season opener in Las Vegas, Stanley participated in the individual portion of practice open to reporters on Monday afternoon. Expecting the 28-year-old to be ready for game action with less than a full week of practice under his belt would seem very ambitious, but head coach John Harbaugh wasn’t about to rule out Stanley for the opener so early in a game week — even if for competitive reasons alone.
The 2016 first-round pick out of Notre Dame has appeared in just one regular-season contest since sustaining a serious left ankle injury on Nov. 1, 2020, which came just two days after Stanley signed a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension through 2025. The injury required multiple surgeries with the most recent occurring last October. Stanley’s return to practice has been more deliberate this time around with veteran Ja’Wuan James working as the first-team left tackle throughout training camp.
Activated from the active physically unable to perform list on Aug. 26, Stanley isn’t the only Ravens player coming back from a serious injury and hoping to be ready for Week 1 as running back J.K. Dobbins and cornerback Marcus Peters returned to practice last month from respective ACL injuries suffered last year.
“It just depends on how he’s doing. A lot of it has to do with how he’s feeling and if he’s ready to go,” said Harbaugh about Stanley’s early-season status. “If he feels strong, if he’s moving and feels like he can be successful, and if we see what we need to see. Same thing with J.K., Marcus, or any of those guys.”
Stanley’s return wasn’t the only positive development Monday as rookie first-round safety Kyle Hamilton was practicing for the first time since Aug. 25 when Harbaugh said the training staff was “managing some stuff” that was “nothing serious” for the 14th overall pick of this year’s draft.
With rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones (knee) being the only player on the current 53-man roster not taking part in Monday’s workout, Harbaugh was asked whether the current health of the team validated the Ravens’ cautious approach to the summer in which few starters saw any action in the three preseason games.
“You just never know what leads to anything. You never know what’s to blame for sure, and you never know what’s to credit for sure,” Harbaugh said. “To be honest with you, I get on my knees every night and I thank God — in all honesty — that we’re in a good place that way, and I pray for the next day to be good. But you also want your guys to have a good practice and to be sharp and be on point and be ready to go compete at the highest level, so all of that is just kind of an unknown.”
Of course, the Ravens don’t have their full assortment of players available for the start of the regular season with outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (Achilles tendon) and running back Gus Edwards (knee) on the reserve physically unable to perform list, outside linebacker David Ojabo (Achilles tendon) on the reserve non-football injury list, and tight end Charlie Kolar (sports hernia surgery) on injured reserve. None of those players are eligible to return until after Week 4.
With just two outside linebackers on their current 53-man roster, the Ravens worked out a pair of edge defenders — Kyler Fackrell and Chris Garrett. Fackrell, 30, has appeared in 86 career games and registered three sacks in 13 contests for the Los Angeles Chargers last season while the 24-year-old Garrett appeared in one game for the Los Angeles Rams as a rookie last year.
Baltimore also waived rookie wide receiver Shemar Bridges from IR with an injury settlement.