J.K. Dobbins’ prolonged absence has ended.
The Ravens running back was removed from the physically unable to perform list after passing his conditioning test and returned to practice on Monday, the team announced.
Dobbins’ removal from PUP doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll immediately participate in full; the RB was seen doing individual drills at Monday’s practice. The listed reason for Dobbins’ absence was a knee issue, but he hasn’t hidden his contract concerns, speaking on the matter a number of times throughout the offseason.
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He missed mandatory minicamp in June and participated in an interview in which he admitted he was dealing with the business side of the sport, while also declining to reveal whether he was battling any health issues. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, meanwhile, told reporters he had expected Dobbins to be in attendance but would have to settle for his arrival in camp.
Dobbins hadn’t completed the latter portion until Monday, missing all of training camp thus far and Baltimore’s first preseason game. Harbaugh recently echoed the same tone he once used regarding Lamar Jackson ‘s protracted contract negotiations, telling reporters “the ball is in J.K.’s court.”
As veteran running backs elsewhere see their value continue to decrease on the open market, Dobbins is cognizant of a potentially similar future for himself. He has already dealt with an ankle injury that hampered him in his final games at Ohio State, missed the entire 2021 season due to a knee injury and played in just eight games last year because of another knee issue. If he’s going to maximize his earning potential, it needs to happen soon.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier in camp that Dobbins might not return until he receives a new contract, and Harbaugh mentioned at the start of camp that Dobbins’ situation was a “complicated” one. Monday’s news might be the advancement Baltimore needed, though, to move past these initial stances.
At minimum, it cleared a path for Dobbins to return to the field. Whether he will soon do so with a new contract in hand remains to be seen.
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