Veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant confirmed what was already anticipated that he won’t be returning to the Ravens for 2021.
On Tuesday, the 32-year-old posted on his verified Twitter account that he wants to play two more seasons, but he “realized quick Baltimore wasn’t the place for me” after signing to the practice squad in late October. A pending free agent, Bryant stressed there was “no bad blood” and that he was “thankful for the opportunity” with the Ravens.
Counting the postseason, Bryant made just six catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns in eight games and 147 total snaps for the Ravens. The three-time Pro Bowl selection hadn’t played in an NFL game since his final season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017 and initially worked out for the Ravens in the 2020 preseason. Bryant said he felt he was on the same page with quarterback Lamar Jackson despite the challenge of joining an offense that was already established midway through the regular season.
“Our chemistry was good on and off the field, but it was guys there before me who understood the offensive concepts better than me,” Bryant wrote. “You can’t jeopardize that.”
Having caught just two passes over the final six games, Bryant garnered more attention for testing positive for COVID-19 on the day the Ravens took on the Cowboys in Week 13. Understandably upset about not getting to play against his old team, the veteran tweeted throughout that 34-17 win and even said he was retiring from the NFL before reconsidering and returning to action for Week 15.
Bryant’s comments on Twitter appeared to be sparked by a post from veteran slot receiver Willie Snead, who will also hit free agency next month and appears likely to depart. Much offseason discussion has centered around the Ravens’ need to upgrade their passing game as well as the wide receiver position.
The run-heavy Ravens ranked 18th in passing yards per attempt, 17th in Football Outsiders’ passing efficiency metric, and 32nd in passing yards per game in 2020.