Just days after re-injuring his right hip for the third time since 2013, former BYU tight end Dennis Pitta was released by the Baltimore Ravens with an injury waiver Wednesday.
Pitta, a fourth-round draft pick by Baltimore in 2010, was coming off the best statistical season of his career. Last year, he had a career-high 729 receiving yards and two touchdowns while leading all NFL tight ends with 86 receptions.
According to ESPN, Pitta's release will open up $2.5 million in salary-cap space for the Ravens.
His injury last Friday, though, is expected to signal the end of a seven-year NFL career in which Pitta missed all but seven games from 2013-15 because of previous hip injuries. According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, doctors confirmed he dislocated the right hip last week while reaching for a pass. There was no contact on the play.
“Dennis is one of the great Ravens, and he has done everything he can to make our team better," Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Friday in a statement.
Pitta first dislocated and fractured his hip during training camp in 2013, then again during Week 3 of the 2014 season against Cleveland. Like last Friday, there was no contact when he was hurt against the Browns.
“It’s true you never know when you’ve played your last down, and I thought I had played my last down,” Pitta told the audience during the 23rd annual banquet for the Utah chapter of the National Football Foundation in April about his thoughts following the second injury in 2014.
“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. Each day, I put my head down and went to work.”
Despite missing all of the 2015 season, he returned to the game last year and had a breakout season for Baltimore and was expected to play a key role in the Ravens' passing attack again in 2017.
Pitta played 66 games in Baltimore with 224 career receptions, 2,098 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, totals for a tight end in Ravens history surpassed only by Todd Heap. Pitta also played a starring role for the Ravens during the playoffs in 2012, catching three touchdown passes that postseason. That included a 1-yard touchdown catch in Super Bowl XLVII against San Francisco in a 34-31 Ravens win.
"Losing 2 brothers back to back days is hard. Never take for granted the time we get with our teammates!!!" former Utah safety and current Raven Eric Weddle tweeted last week after the announcement of Pitta's injury. Weddle and Pitta are close friends.
"Gonna miss u bro."