Ravens tight end Boyle suspended for rest of 2015 season


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A disappointing first season for the 2015 Ravens draft class took another hit on Monday with fifth-round tight end Nick Boyle being suspended for the remainder of the season.
Boyle was banned four games without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, meaning his rookie campaign comes to an end after he made 18 catches for 153 yards in 11 games. Known as more of a blocking tight end coming out of the University of Delaware, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Boyle showed impressive ability as a receiver and even outplayed second-round tight end Maxx Williams for large stretches of their rookie season.
Head coach John Harbaugh was quick to point out that Boyle was not suspended for using a serious performance-enhancing drug like steroids.
“It’s nothing like that. He can confirm what it was,” Harbaugh said. “It’s pretty common — it’s what you read about all the time with guys. I don’t think he realized that it was something he shouldn’t be doing. Or, if he did, he just didn’t think it through. I talked to him and he was just telling me how stupid it was and I agreed — it was pretty dumb. Hopefully, he’ll grow and learn from that.”
Boyle’s suspension leaves the Ravens in a difficult spot at tight end as Williams missed Sunday’s game in Miami with a concussion and second-year starter Crockett Gillmore left the game with a back injury and didn’t return. Baltimore could elect to promote veteran tight end Konrad Reuland from the practice squad to take Boyle’s place on the 53-man roster.
Harbaugh expressed optimism regarding the availability of Williams and Gillmore for Sunday’s meeting with the surging Seattle Seahawks.
“Maxx and Crockett both have a really good chance to play,” said Harbaugh, who added that the Ravens would explore making another addition at the position. “We’ll see how that goes. Maxx tells me he’s playing. He’s going through the concussion protocol, so that’s always going to be something that’s hard to determine, but he’s a guy who’s pretty certain he’s going to play.
“Crockett’s the same way. Crockett’s had a myriad of nicks and bruises and contusions and all those kinds of things like that, and this is another one. It will just be day to day. He will not have to practice to play, for sure. With our situation at tight end, if he can play, he’s going to be out there playing. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”
With so many members of the 2015 draft class failing to contribute in meaningful ways this season, Boyle had been one of the lone highlights. First-round receiver Breshad Perriman suffered an eventual season-ending knee injury on the first day of training camp, Williams has been slow to make a big impact, and third-round defensive tackle Carl Davis has faded after a strong start to his rookie season.
Other than fourth-round running back Buck Allen in recent weeks, Boyle has provided the biggest return among Baltimore’s rookies.
“The shame of it is here’s a guy who’s playing so well,” Harbaugh said. “He’s one of the gems of the draft class in terms of a fifth-round pick playing the way he does. He plays hard. He’s been good in the pass game, good in the run game, smart, tough. He’s got a tremendous future. I told him that today, ‘It’s just a shame you’re going to miss four games here. You’re playing like a veteran out there.’
“He’ll learn from it, he’s smart, and we’ll move forward.”