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Ravens place Bowser on non-football injury list, release nine vested veterans to trim roster to 53

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens will begin the season without their starting strong-side linebacker for a second straight year.

Still dealing with what head coach John Harbaugh has described as an “agitated” right knee, Tyus Bowser was placed on the reserve non-football injury list as general manager Eric DeCosta made a total of 29 moves to shape Baltimore’s initial 53-man roster on Tuesday. The 28-year-old will now miss a minimum of four games before being eligible to return for the Week 5 trip to Pittsburgh on Oct 8. Bowser missed the first eight games last year while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the 2021 season finale.

Defensive end Brent Urban and cornerback Kevon Seymour headlined a list of nine vested veterans who were released, but those two appear likely to rejoin the 53-man roster in the coming days. Any individual a team wants to place on injured reserve must be on the initial 53-man roster to be eligible to return later in the season, so a vested veteran — who is not subject to waivers — is occasionally approached about being released with a handshake agreement to be re-signed once injured players are placed on IR. After undergoing ankle surgery earlier this month, cornerback Damarion Williams is one player expected to be placed on IR later this week.

Beaten out by undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchel for the fourth running back job, two-time Pro Bowl selection Melvin Gordon was also among the vested veterans to be released. Gordon rushed 17 times for 59 yards and caught four passes for 29 yards over three preseason games, but his performance did not stand out with veteran running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill already comfortably on the roster.

After competing with Tyler Huntley for the No. 2 quarterback job this summer, the 37-year-old Josh Johnson was also released, but Huntley remains sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in the season opener, which could open the door to Johnson returning for the short term at least. Second-year quarterback Anthony Brown was also waived on Tuesday after a disappointing summer.

Instead keeping Ben Cleveland for additional guard depth after sixth-round rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu struggled in the preseason, the Ravens released center Sam Mustipher, who was expected to be the primary backup to starter Tyler Linderbaum. Of course, the versatile Patrick Mekari has played center in the past and could serve as the game-day backup if something were to happen to Linderbaum, and Mustipher would be a logical candidate to return via the practice squad.

The most notable younger players to be waived were fifth-round rookie cornerback Kyu Kelly, wide receiver James Proche, and inside linebacker Kristian Welch. Baltimore prefers not to cut its draft picks, but the fifth round has historically served as the line of demarcation for when DeCosta or previous general manager Ozzie Newsome has been willing to move on from an underperforming rookie. Proche had a disappointing summer and was a victim of the numbers game at wide receiver while Welch had been one of the Ravens’ prominent special-teams players over the last three seasons, appearing in 43 games.

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With Mitchell and Baltimore native and outside linebacker Malik Hamm making the 53-man roster, the Ravens have now kept at least one rookie free agent on their projected Week 1 roster in 19 of the last 20 seasons. However, Mitchell and Hamm are currently dealing with injuries, making one wonder if they could land on IR to free up roster spots for the time being.

In addition to Bowser, the Ravens also placed rookie guard Andrew Vorhees (knee) and long snapper Nick Moore (Achilles tendon) on the non-football injury list. Neither Vorhees nor Moore is expected to play this season.

Below is a look at Baltimore’s full list of cuts from Tuesday:

WAIVED
WR Tarik Black
QB Anthony Brown
G TyKeem Doss
CB Tae Hayes
CB Kyu Kelly
S Jeremy Lucien
G Tashawn Manning
FB/TE Ben Mason
OLB Jeremiah Moon
DT Rayshad Nichols
WR James Proche
ILB Josh Ross
WR Sean Ryan
OL Jaylon Thomas
TE Travis Vokolek
ILB Kristian Welch
RB Owen Wright

VESTED VETERANS TERMINATED
DT Angelo Blackson
RB Melvin Gordon
QB Josh Johnson
C Sam Mustipher
CB Kevon Seymour
OT David Sharpe
WR Laquon Treadwell
DE Brent Urban
S Daryl Worley

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