OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A day after Dez Bryant played in his first game in three years, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked whether the role of the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver would expand.
Based on how tight-lipped the Ravens have been about their most famous practice squad player, you’re more likely to see Harbaugh throw up the "X" than receive any details about the team’s plan with Bryant.
"We’ll just see going forward how it plays out,” Harbaugh said Monday. "It’s really not something we have to advertise. We’ll just see where it goes.”
In his first game since December 2017, Bryant played two snaps, ran one route and had no passes thrown his direction. Four other Ravens wide receivers played more snaps than Bryant: Marquise Brown (55), Willie Snead IV (34), Devin Duvernay (26) and Miles Boykin (23).
“It’s surreal,” Bryant said. “Just being back in the locker room, just being on the sideline, just being here with these guys, it’s exciting. Seeing the game up close versus just watching it on TV; I felt my competitive spirit come back alive.”
Bryant was surprisingly elevated for Sunday’s game after completing his second week on Baltimore’s practice squad. When asked about the decision to elevate Bryant, Harbaugh shook his head.
"There’s really not much to talk about,” Harbaugh said. "We had the spot, and we felt he was ready enough to do it.”
The expectation is Bryant’s snaps will increase at some point. The Ravens don’t sign someone with the pedigree of Bryant to put him out on the field for a handful of plays.
It's a good sign Bryant suited up after six practices, which indicates the team is pleased with how he's getting in football shape and learning the offense. Last week, Lamar Jackson praised Bryant's route-running and strong hands.
Baltimore isn’t getting much from its wide receivers, who rank last in the NFL in receiving yards (991) and have totaled the third-fewest touchdown catches (four). Miles Boykin, who provides the most size at wide receiver outside of Bryant, has watched his snaps decrease from 40 per game to a season-low 22 on Sunday. If the Ravens continue to decrease Boykin's role, it wouldn't come as a shock to see Bryant's presence in the offense increase.
The Ravens can elevate Bryant a second time without making a roster move. If Baltimore wants to promote Bryant after that, the team must terminate his practice squad contract and sign him to an NFL deal.
Of course, the game everyone wants to see Bryant active for is Dec. 3 against the Dallas Cowboys in Baltimore. It would reunite Bryant with the team that he starred from 2010 to 2017.
"I’m very grateful, I’m very thankful, and I’m just going to keep on working,” Bryant said. "I’m going to keep on grinding and just do whatever these guys need me to do to keep getting wins.”