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Tuesday's NFL: Dez Bryant joins Ravens practice squad after 2-year hiatus

Associated Press

Former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has moved one step closer to playing in the NFL again.

The 31-year-old Bryant signed with the Ravens on Tuesday and has been assigned to the practice squad.

Bryant last played in 2017, when he had 69 catches for 838 yards in his eighth and final season in Dallas. He signed with New Orleans in November 2018, but tore his Achilles tendon before getting into a game.

Dez Bryant

Now he’s on the cusp of getting back on the field.

Bryant said on Twitter: “My emotions running high right now… I’m thankful…I can’t stop crying.”

If he’s retained his speed and is not too rusty, Bryant could add a much-needed deep threat to a Baltimore passing attack that currently ranks 31st in yards per game. Second-year receiver Marquis Brown is currently quarterback Lamar Jackson’s most prominent target for the long ball.

Drafted 24th overall by Dallas in 2010, Bryant was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2013, 2014 and 2016. He has 531 catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns.

After scoring a career-high 16 TDs in 2014, Bryant endured two straight injury-shortened seasons before playing in 16 games in 2017.

He put up some impressive numbers with Dallas, but was sometimes perceived as a distraction because of his outbursts on the sideline during games and in the locker room. He was released by the Cowboys in April 2018.

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was asked Monday what the addition of Bryant could mean for the team. His reply: “That would be cool. He’s been around the league for a long, long time. I’m excited to meet him, get around him hopefully. Just learn everything you can from a guy like that because they’ve done it and they’ve been there. It’s super exciting for me.

Baltimore waived safety Marcus Gilchrist from the practice squad to make room for Bryant.

Turned down

Free agent safety Eric Reid told The Associated Press he declined an offer to join Washington’s practice squad.

Washington (2-5) lost safety Landon Collins to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in a win over Dallas on Sunday. Rookie Kamren Curl, a seventh-round pick, will replace him for now.

“I just don’t think playing on the practice squad is reflective or indicative of my career,” Reid said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Reid played two seasons for Washington coach Ron Rivera in Carolina and set two defensive franchise records for the Panthers last season.

Last month, Rivera praised Reid, saying: “He’s a heck of a teammate. He’s a heck of a young man.”

Rivera also added: “If we didn’t (have Collins), believe me, I’d call him. I think he’s a guy that has the ability to play in this league and hopefully, if somebody needs a strong safety, he’s a guy they would call.”

Reid has been working out and waiting for an opportunity to join a team’s active roster. He said he was told Washington wants to give Curl a shot at starting.

“I’m just not in a place to play on the practice squad right now,” Reid said, adding that he texted Rivera to let him know his decision. “If they go a different direction, I’ll be ready.”

A first-round pick by San Francisco in 2013, Reid went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. He joined Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when the former star quarterback took a knee during the national anthem to protest against police violence, racism and social injustice.

Kaepernick hasn’t played in the league since that season and Reid sat out the first three weeks of the 2018 season before Carolina signed him. Both players filed collusion grievances against the NFL and settled their cases in February 2019.

Personnel dept.

Christian McCaffrey has been designated for return from the team’s injured reserve list, increasing the likelihood Carolina’s 2019 All-Pro running back will play Thursday night against the Falcons.

McCaffrey hasn’t played since Week 2 when he suffered a high ankle sprain in a loss to the Buccaneers.

... The Browns placed star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on injured reserve, two days after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in a win at Cincinnati.

... The Rams released rookie kicker Samuel Sloman after seven games with the team