OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With their initial 53-man roster already undergoing anticipated changes, the Ravens made a surprise move by cutting third-year offensive lineman Tyre Phillips on Wednesday.
Despite beginning each of his first two seasons as a starter at guard, Phillips was waived after an uneven summer in which he failed to distinguish himself in the competition for the starting left guard job. The 2020 third-round pick out of Mississippi State may not be out of the organization’s plans entirely despite reported efforts to trade him, but it was a disappointing development for the 6-foot-5, 324-pound Phillips, who’s battled injuries and played both guard positions and right tackle over 13 career starts.
“It’s just part of the roster moves right now,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Without getting too deep into all of that, there’s a lot of moving parts to all of that. I’m still hopeful as a coach that we’ll get him back. We’ll try to get him back to the practice squad. We’ll see.”
As expected the Ravens officially signed veteran running back Kenyan Drake to augment their depth at the position as starter J.K. Dobbins — who began practicing on Aug. 8 — continues to work his way back to full strength from last year’s serious knee injury. The 28-year-old Drake was released by Las Vegas earlier this month after his 2021 season was cut short by a fractured ankle that required surgery last December.
Drake rushed for 254 yards and piled up 291 receiving yards in 12 games last season, but the 6-foot-1, 210-pound back rushed for a career-high 955 yards and 10 touchdowns with Arizona in 2020.
“He’s a back who has had a lot of exciting plays in this league,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a big, strong, fast, kind of slasher-type back — experience in pass protection. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. He’s a great guy in talking to him. He’ll be taking more of the next four days to get up to speed and get ready to go.”
A roster spot was cleared for Drake when Baltimore placed a pair of 2022 draft picks — second-round outside linebacker David Ojabo (Achilles tendon) and fourth-round tight end Charlie Kolar (sports hernia surgery) — on injured reserve. Ojabo and Kolar will miss at least the first four games of the season, but they’re eligible to begin practicing and return to the active roster after that.
The other open roster spot went to returning defensive end Brent Urban, who was released Tuesday as a presumed handshake agreement to allow the organization to carry Ojabo and Kolar on the initial 53-man roster, a requirement to keep them eligible for designations to return.
The Ravens also claimed linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips off waivers from the New York Jets on Wednesday, but Harbaugh declined to comment on the special-teams standout, citing a fluid roster situation and the newcomer’s need to pass a physical. The 2019 undrafted free agent out of Illinois has appeared in 19 career games and spent time with Atlanta, Buffalo, and the Jets.
Wednesday’s practice attendance
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley once again headlined the list of practice absences on Wednesday as it becomes more and more apparent that he won’t be ready for the Sept. 11 opener against the Jets.
The 2019 All-Pro selection was activated from the physically unable to perform list last Friday, but he has yet to take part in any team practices. Stanley has played in one regular-season game and undergone multiple surgeries since suffering a severe left ankle injury on Nov. 1, 2020.
“He was out there before you guys got out here. He was out there doing the individual stuff,” Harbaugh said. “I’ll just say again [that] it’s really not a set timetable. It’s going to be in terms of when they tell us and when he feels like he wants to get out there and do it. He knows his ankle, and I know that Ronnie is very determined to be really at his very best when he comes back.”
Other players missing from the final summer practice before four straight days off included cornerback Marlon Humphrey, safeties Kyle Hamilton and Geno Stone, and defensive tackle Travis Jones (knee). Offensive tackle Daniel Faalele returned to practice after missing just over a week with a minor knee injury.
Initial practice squad nearly complete
Baltimore announced 15 members of its 16-man practice squad with all being cut from the preseason roster on Tuesday:
RB Tyler Badie
QB Anthony Brown
DT Isaiah Mack
FB Ben Mason
G Isaiah McKenzie
OLB Steven Means
OLB Jeremiah Moon
DT Rayshad Nichols
WR Makai Polk
CB Kevon Seymour
OT David Sharpe
WR Binjimen Victor
S Ar’Darius Washington
WR Raleigh Webb
CB Daryl Worley
All but Sharpe and Seymour were present and taking part in Wednesday’s practice.