OCTOBER 9: Stanley is finally set to make his return. The 2019 First Team All-Pro will suit up for Baltimore’s Sunday night battle against the division-rival Bengals, per Rapoport and NFL Network colleague Mike Garafolo (Twitter link).
OCTOBER 2: Despite the optimism, Stanley is inactive for Week 4. Assuming there are no setbacks in the coming week, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic expects Stanley to return to the field for the Ravens’ Week 5 game against the Bengals (Twitter link).
SEPTEMBER 29: For more than one calendar year, the Ravens have been without their top offensive lineman, but that could change on Sunday. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley told reporters that he could make his season debut this week against the Bills (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).
Rapoport notes that “everything [is] trending in the right direction,” a welcomed sign in Baltimore given the 28-year-old’s standard of play but also his lengthy absence. Ankle injuries have limited him to just one game played since October 2020 – the season opener last year. Weeks after that contest, he underwent a second straight season-ending procedure aimed at ensuring he would recover in full this year.
As he revealed during today’s media availability, Stanley actually had another “major surgery” in his lower body following the ankle operation. After being activated in August, the Notre Dame alum gradually resumed on-field work, but this is the first week in which he has practiced in full. As a result, he has expressed confidence about both his short- and long-term health.
“I feel way better than what I was when I played that first game last year,” Stanley said, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “I’m in a way better place. I’m very optimistic, very confident about me getting back to where I want to be.”
A Week 4 return would also be perfectly timed considering Baltimore’s current tackle situation. Ja’Wuan James filled in for Stanley to start the season, but he suffered a torn Achilles during the team’s first game game. The Ravens’ next option, swingman Patrick Mekari, sprained his ankle last week and is likely to miss some time. Given the lack of depth, the team worked out veteran Ty Nsekhe this week as potential insurance.
A return to action – and All-Pro form – would solve the Ravens’ issue at the blindside position, though. It would also give both player and club confidence from a financial standpoint, as Stanley has $57MM due on the remainder of his five-year extension signed just before his injury troubles began. If he is unable to suit up on Sunday, fourth-round rookie Daniel Faalele will likely get the start at LT.