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Former BYU TE Dennis Pitta injures hip again with Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (88) runs after catching a pass in front of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz (27) during the first half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (88) runs after catching a pass in front of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz (27) during the first half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.
Phelan M. Ebenhack, AP

Former BYU tight end Dennis Pitta has injured his hip again.

The Baltimore Ravens star who has hurt it two other times since 2013, was injured Friday during Ravens OTAs, the team announced. According to the announcement, it was a noncontact injury. The severity of the injury was not disclosed pending tests, but the announcement indicated that Pitta would “likely have surgery very soon.”

“This is incredibly disappointing, obviously for Dennis, and for the Ravens,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement.

The eight-year pro missed all but seven games from 2013-15 before playing in all 16 games in 2016, posting a career-high 729 receiving yards with two touchdowns and leading all NFL tight ends in receptions with 86. It was the most receptions by a Baltimore tight end in franchise history.

As a senior for the Cougars in 2009, Pitta was named a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s best tight end.

Nearly two months ago, during the 23rd annual banquet for the Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation, Pitta was recognized as the Distinguished American Award winner and emphasized to the young student-athletes also being honored that hard work and preparation is vital not just on the football field, but in life as well.

Both of those aspects came into play when Pitta dealt with his two previous hip injuries.

Pitta, speaking at the banquet on April 12 on UVU's campus, said doctors told him after the second injury that there was zero chance he would be able to play football again because his hip wouldn’t be stable enough to withstand the pressures of playing professional football.

“I believed them. For a long time, I thought my football career was over. That was a tough pill to swallow,” Pitta said. “It’s true you never know when you’ve played your last down, and I thought I had played my last down.”

But Pitta went to work rehabbing anyway.

“I wanted to live a normal life, so I continued rehabilitation, I continued to work at getting stronger, strengthening my hip to where I could move and function properly," he said. "Each day, I put my head down and went to work.”

In a separate interview prior to his speech, Pitta was looking forward to the 2017 campaign, saying, "Fortunately, I just kind of trusted the process and wanted to see where I was at when all was said and done. I felt good enough to play again. I got through last year healthy and unscathed all season. Here I am, able to go through an offseason healthy and prepare myself for next year."