What is it about the Ravens tight end group? It is being decimated the last two seasons by stupidity.
The original Latin meaning for the word “decimated” is to lose one out of ten soldiers. Well, the Ravens have lost 5 out of 10 tight ends over the past 12 months—three of them to injury but two of them to outright stupidity.
Last year it was Nick Boyle failing a drug test for PED’s for the second straight year in a row. This year it’s Darren Waller’s turn, although the drug in question has been speculated to be marijuana.
Waller has been suspended without pay by the NFL for at least one year after violating the league’s substance abuse policy for a second time in two years. Waller, 24, is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games, but will not be allowed around the team once the regular-season begins.
Geez, and I was one among many who was counting on Waller to fill the gap left by the permanent loss of Dennis Pitta to injury.
The 6-6, 255 lb. end from Georgia Tech (2015 sixth-round pick) has immense potential – he’s one of the team’s most athletically freakish players given his size and speed – but a second suspension could derail his career, according to the Ravens lead media department writer Ryan Mink:
“It’s unknown what Waller specifically did to violate the substance abuse policy. After serving his last suspension, he was frank about marijuana use and said he was beyond it.
“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said in October. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.
“It’s knowing that it’s bigger than me around here. When I’m here, it’s not a problem. I work hard and am involved in everything and positive. But when I leave here, am I still taking that mindset with me wherever I go?”
Baltimore has now lost two tight ends that they started the offseason with. Veteran Dennis Pitta fractured his hip for a third time during Organized Team Activities and was released. That leaves Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and Ryan Malleck as the team’s tight ends. Watson returned from Achilles surgery to participate in minicamp on a limited basis. Williams is still a question mark as he makes a comeback from a rare knee surgery.
Tough to really count on the injury comebacks by Watson or Williams—Malleck is inexperienced, and Gillmore although competent gets banged up a lot— so the stupid failure of Waller to keep his drug profile clean is not only costing him his job, but also destroys the depth of the team’s tight end group. If I were Ozzie, I’d be watching those waiver wires very closely in late July and early August.
Whom am I kidding?— Ozzie will be watching those wires anyway.