John Harbaugh: Ravens don't want to 'force-feed' WR Dez Bryant, but call-up is likely coming

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun
·2 min read

BALTIMORE — Wide receiver Dez Bryant finished his second week of practice Friday with the Ravens’ practice squad. But his first snap in the NFL since 2017 is likely at least another week away.

Coach John Harbaugh on Friday declined to offer a timetable for when the former Dallas Cowboys star could be promoted to the active roster, except to say that it likely would happen. The Ravens signed Bryant on Oct. 27, almost two years after he tore his Achilles tendon during a practice with the New Orleans Saints.

“When we feel like he’s ready to come up, in shape, knows the offense well enough, has enough compatibility with (quarterback) Lamar (Jackson) on enough plays, then we’ll bring him up,” Harbaugh said during a video conference call. “So when it happens — I think it’ll happen. I don’t think it’s something you want to force-feed in there. So we’ll just have to see as we go.”

Bryant, 32, stood in for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool during practice last week. With the Ravens in intensive protocol this week after cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s positive COVID-19 test, reporters have been barred from viewing practice ahead of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

A healthy, productive Bryant could help a Ravens passing attack that’s No. 24 in the NFL in efficiency, according to Football Outsiders. In practice, he’s impressed Jackson, who on Wednesday called him a “great” route runner with strong hands and a desire to learn the playbook and compete.

“I just can’t wait until he gets out there with us on Sundays and fully practices with us,” Jackson said.

On social media, Bryant has expressed a willingness to help the Ravens however he can. When a follower on Twitter pointed out the Ravens’ run-heavy offense, Bryant on Thursday responded, “I’m going to be the player I always (have) been.”

“I can have 0 catches as long as we win,” Bryant added. “I’m blessed to get an opportunity with a special group.”

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