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Ravens Bringing A Bit Of Dallas To Baltimore

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In light of injuries to Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark will be asked to take on an important pass-catching role for the Ravens. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images.
In light of injuries to Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark will be asked to take on an important pass-catching role for the Ravens. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images.

The Baltimore Ravens firmed up the tight end position after signing free agent Dallas Clark last Sunday. The 10-year veteran tight end – who has amassed 50 touchdowns and more than 5,300 yards in his career – got the call to join the Ravens while at home in Iowa with his kids. 

Time away from the game can lead to rust with many players, but Clark seems to have kept himself in good shape for his return. Reports surfaced from Tuesday’s practice that the 34-year-old tight end snagged an errant pass that many thought was uncatchable out of the air – a catch that wowed onlookers. This dazzling grab occurred after Clark has already caught a 20-yard pass along the sideline that impressed his new teammates.

Clark clearly drags heavy cache and winning credentials into Baltimore with him, so it isn’t too tough to imagine that he won’t do his part to help the Ravens get back into the playoffs this season. By any measure, Clark played well last season with the Tampa Bay Bucs with 435 yards and four touchdowns (although he did only average a career low 27.2 receiving yards a game). And the team’s website reported that Clark turned down offers to play for other losing teams in hopes that a contender would call. Enter the Ravens.

The coaching staff won’t expect Clark to shoulder the offensive load – at his advanced age – for the defending Super Bowl champs, as those roles are dually cast to QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice. Clark's longest catch last season was only 33 yards, but ultimately, tight ends on most teams rarely ever the big-play catalysts. So even if Clark's skills have diminished a bit since last season, so what?

Expect Clark to get plenty of catches. But with Baltimore’s run-heavy offense, also expect to see Clark – and newly-acquired Visanthe Shiancoe – to line up in two tight-end packages as Baltimore continues gives defenses a steady diet of the running game.