After 10 months of rehab, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley is ready to resume his NFL career. The former All-Pro left tackle returned to practice Monday for the first time since missing the bulk of last year due to an ankle injury. This return to the field comes on the heels of Stanley recently passing his physical and coming off of Baltimore's physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
The Ravens are set to travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to play the New York Jets in the season opener on Sunday. Considering he's on the field to begin the week, that would be an encouraging sign that Stanley plays Week 1. Head coach John Harbaugh previously noted that "there's a chance" Stanley could play, but "I wouldn't comment on what the number is for strategic reasons."
Stanley initially went on injured reserve last October before undergoing ankle surgery. He had two prior surgeries on his left ankle since sustaining the injury during the 2020 season. Stanley monitored his ankle during the first six games of the 2021 season before deciding to undergo a third procedure.
"This is not what I wanted or expected when coming into the season," Stanley wrote shortly after going on IR. "Throughout the last year, I did everything I could to be 100% healthy so I could be out there playing for our team and city. As a competitor, I have a mindset of sacrificing my body for my brothers and my team to reach our goals. At this point in time, my ankle isn't where it should be.
"This is the best decision not only for my health, but also for the team long term. I look forward to supporting my team from the sideline this season and coming back fully healthy in 2022."
When healthy, Stanley has been one of the Ravens' top offensive players since his rookie year in 2016. The sixth overall pick in that year's draft, Stanley has started in each of his 63 regular-season games. He earned an All-Pro selection in 2019 while helping the Ravens win 14 regular-season games.
Stanley returns to the Ravens' starting lineup, where he will be flanked on the line by left guard Ben Powers, rookie center Tyler Linderbaum, right guard Kevin Zeitler and right tackle and Morgan Moses. Zeitler is in his second season in Baltimore after spending five seasons with the Bengals, two with the Browns and two with the Giants. Moses arrived in Baltimore this offseason after spending his first seven seasons in Washington and last season with the Jets.
The Ravens are hoping to avoid the rash of injuries that plagued their 2021 season. Baltimore started the season 8-3 before losing their final six games of the campaign. Along with Stanley, the Ravens are also welcoming back Lamar Jackson and starting running back J.K. Dobbins, among others. Jackson missed five of Baltimore's final eight games with an injury, while Dobbins missed the entire 2021 season after tearing his ACL during Baltimore's final preseason game.