Ravens Designate Mark Andrews For Return

JANUARY 19: While an initial report indicated the Ravens were planning to activate Andrews for their divisional-round game, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport indicates the team will hold off on that. The No. 1-seeded club will not move Andrews back to its 53-man roster before Saturday’s Texans tilt, with Rapoport adding an AFC championship return — provided Baltimore qualifies for that round for the first time in 11 years — has been the goal.

Andrews logged full practices on Wednesday and Thursday this week, but the Ravens will remain cautious with their top pass catcher.

JANUARY 12: As the Ravens continue with their bye week ahead of the wild-card round, they have received encouraging news on the injury front. Tight end Mark Andrews was designated for return from injured reserve on Friday, and he took part in the day’s practice session.

The move opens Andrews’ 21-day day activation window and marks another signficant step in his recovery process. The All-Pro suffered a cracked fibula as well as ligament damage in his ankle in November, an injury which threatened to end his season. After undergoing surgery, however, it became clear the Ravens were holding out hope that he would manage to return at some point down the road.

Andrews has had a successful recovery process to date, strengthening the belief that he could suit up in the event Baltimore made a deep postseason run. By securing the top seed in the AFC, the Ravens earned an extra week of recovery for the three-time Pro Bowler, who was enjoying another productive campaign prior to the injury. Andrews totaled 544 yards and six touchdowns on 45 catches across 10 games before going down.

The former third-rounder has been quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s preferred target in the passing game throughout his career. Andrews has remained a focal point of Baltimore’s offense since signing a four-year, $56MM extension in 2021, but his absence has opened the door for another key contributor on offense in recent weeks. 2022 fourth-rounder Isaiah Likely has taken on a starting role in Andrews’ absence, and he has impressed with the increased workload so far.

Likely has posted a 30-411-5 statline this season, with much of his production coming after Andrews was sidelined. In general, the Ravens’ offense has managed to hold up better than expected with Andrews (along with running backs J.K. Dobbins and Keaton Mitchell, who are out for the year) on the sidelines. Still, his return to the lineup in time for the divisional round would be a major boost to Baltimore’s Super Bowl aspirations.

Andrews now joins wideout/returner Devin Duvernay as well as defensive back Ar’Darius Washington in having his practice window opened. The Ravens have four IR activations remaining, but three of them will be needed to bring each member of the trio back into the fold.

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