Ravens 'cautiously optimistic' about Dennis Pitta

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens remain hopeful that tight end Dennis Pitta will play in 2015 after he suffered two serious hip injuries the past two seasons.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in early December that he expects Pitta to make a full recovery, and he indicated on Tuesday that there have been no developments to change that prognosis.

"I will say that I’m cautiously optimistic because of the injury," Harbaugh said. "We all sit in here [and] all of us would be [like], ‘OK, is this going to be good?’ We want to make sure he’s going to be totally healthy, totally safe as much is as reasonable in football to make sure that hip is sound and everything before our doctors would ever clear him. In the end, it will be up to the doctors and Dennis to determine that.”

The Ravens are financially committed to Pitta even if he can't play in 2015. Pitta's $4 million salary is guaranteed unless he chooses to retire, so the Ravens will keep him around whether it's on the physically unable to perform list or injured reserve and can make a decision on him in 2016.

Pitta, 29, has become one of Joe Flacco's most trusted targets. In 2012, he set career-highs in catches (61), receiving yards (669) and touchdowns (seven). During the Ravens' Super Bowl run that season, Pitta had touchdowns in three of the team's four playoff games.

He signed a five-year, $32 million deal prior to the 2014 season and only caught 16 passes before undergoing his second hip surgery in 14 months. He told the team that he plans on playing again after being limited to seven games the past two seasons.

Harbaugh said he spoke to Pitta on Tuesday and hopes to receive more updated information soon.

"He’s going to see a couple specialists this week," Harbaugh said. "[We are] looking forward to seeing what they say. But he was working out [Tuesday], so that seemed to be positive to me.”

The only Ravens tight end currently under contract who played for the team last season is rookie third-round pick Crockett Gillmore. Owen Daniels, who finished third on the Ravens with 48 catches for 527 yards, is an unrestricted free agent.

Phillip Supernaw, who played six games, is an exclusive-rights free agent and can be retained if the Ravens tender him a contract. The Ravens signed two tight ends to future-reserve deals Monday: Allen Reisner and Konrad Reuland.