Ravens may take time with rehabbing veterans at start of training camp


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — John Harbaugh said he’s “not not optimistic” about any of the still-rehabbing Ravens players, a list including star left tackle Ronnie Stanley, top blocking tight end Nick Boyle, and Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard.

The 14th-year head coach expects them all to be ready to go for the 2021 season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be suited up and taking part in the first full-squad practice of training camp in late July. Stanley (ankle), Boyle (knee), Ricard (hip), and third-year cornerback Iman Marshall (knee) didn’t participate in voluntary organized team activities or this week’s mandatory minicamp as they continued working their way back to full strength. 

“They might be ready the first day. We might want to wait a couple of days and get them moving around and doing football things to make sure,” Harbaugh said. “If anything, we’re probably going to err on the side of caution with those guys in the first couple of days even if they are ready, but we’ll know more at the time.”

Harbaugh said Tuesday that Stanley remains “on schedule” and should be ready to open the season “for sure” after undergoing two surgeries for the major left ankle injury he sustained in Week 8 last season. Boyle suffered his season-ending knee injury in Week 10 last year while Ricard underwent a hip procedure in the offseason. Marshall, a 2019 fourth-round pick who’s appeared in just three games in his career, sustained a serious knee injury last August.

Tight end Jake Breeland also remained sidelined this spring after sitting out his rookie season with a knee injury suffered in his final year at the University of Oregon. After sustaining season-ending ACL injuries last fall, cornerback Tavon Young and inside linebacker Otaro Alaka both took part in minicamp on a very limited basis this week, which bodes well for their status to open training camp.

The Ravens were dealing with two new absences for the second day of mandatory minicamp as outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson was excused due to a death in his family and rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman was dealing with a stomach virus. Bateman also missed some time during OTAs with tightness in his legs, according to Harbaugh. 

Though missing nearly three full workouts of the five open to media this spring, the 2021 first-round pick made quite an impression with observers, including one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.

“After guarding him throughout OTAs and minicamp the other day, I’ve seen some serious flashes,” said two-time Pro Bowl selection Marlon Humphrey, who credited the rookie for practicing with confidence. “I told [general manager Eric] DeCosta, I was like, ‘Hey, man, I think we got a pretty good one in Bateman.’ He’s shown some really good things to me. I can’t wait to get some more battles with him in training camp and take it into the season.”

Other players remaining out for Wednesday’s practice included defensive lineman Derek Wolfe (illness), safety Jordan Richards (undisclosed), outside linebacker Aaron Adeoye (undisclosed), and offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James (Achilles tendon). Wide receiver James Proche appeared to hurt his upper right leg during the workout, but he remained on the sideline for the rest of the session.

The Ravens will conclude mandatory minicamp Thursday with meetings and conditioning tests before players disperse until the start of training camp in late July. 

“We feel great about where we’re at,” Harbaugh said. “We’re ready to move into the next phase, which I told the guys is an individual phase between now and when training camp starts. As a world-class athlete, [that includes] everything you can do to get yourself as prepared as you can be for the haul of the season but also the competition of training camp.”