OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin returned to practice for the first time in weeks on Sept. 29, indicating that both players are getting closer to making their 2021 debuts.
Bateman and Boykin are on injured reserve, and now that they have returned to practice, the Ravens have 21 days to place them on the 53-man roster or they must remain on IR for the remainder of the season.
Head coach John Harbaugh would not speculate on their availability for the game at the Denver Broncos on Oct. 3, saying, “It will just be based on whether they’re ready to go.”
Neither has practiced since early August, so it seems unlikely they will be play at Denver, although Boykin has been doing a lot of conditioning work on a side field and is probably closer to returning to action.
Bateman, the Ravens’ top draft pick this year, has been sidelined since Aug. 10 and later underwent surgery for a groin injury.
He and quarterback Lamar Jackson have hardly had any practice time together since the spring. Jackson missed the first 10 days of training camp after testing positive for COVID, and then Bateman was sidelined just a couple of days after Jackson returned.
But on Bateman’s first day back on the field in a more than a month, Jackson missed practice with a back injury, according to the injury report. Jackson had spoken with reporters in his weekly media session about an hour before practice, and injured players are usually held out of news conferences, so Jackson’s absence from practice was probably precautionary.
Asked what he’s seen in Bateman in the little time they’ve had on the field together, Jackson called him “a great route runner” with “sneaky speed.”
“He’s going to be hungry and ready when his time comes,” Jackson added.
Boykin, in his third season, has been sidelined since Aug. 2 with a hamstring injury. The Ravens’ biggest receiver at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, he is considered the team’s best blocker among the wide receivers and has been a top special teams player.
Boykin, though, has yet to establish himself as a consistent target, with 32 catches in 32 career games. Last season, Boykin caught 19 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns.
Jackson has proved to be heavily reliant on Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins and tight end Mark Andrews, as those three have caught 75 percent of Jackson’s completions this year. Receivers Devin Duvernay (3), James Proche (1) and Tylan Wallace (0) have a combined total of four catches in three games.
THREE RETURN FROM RESERVE/COVID-19 LIST: Ravens defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike and outside linebacker Justin Houston have been activated from the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list. The three players had been placed on the list Sept. 24 and missed the Ravens 19-17 win at Detroit Sept. 26. According to NFL protocols, unvaccinated players who are deemed high-risk close contacts to a player who tests positive must self-isolate for five days.
Outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and he remains on the reserve list. Head coach John Harbaugh said last week that he was not permitted to discuss COVID-related issues.
TUCKER NAMED AFC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Justin Tucker has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his record-setting 66-yard field goal that beat the Detroit Lions at the buzzer on Sept. 26.
Tucker made three of four field goals in that game, hitting from 50 and 32 yards and missing from 49 before his record-setter, which proved to be the 17th game-winning kick of his career.
Tucker, the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history with a success rate of 90.6 percent (298-329), is 16-for-16 on field-goal kicks in the final minute of regulation in his career.
This marks Tucker’s 12th Player of the Week honor, extending his own franchise record.
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