BALTIMORE — Dez Bryant sat at a table and flashed a big smile as he signed a contract to officially be part of the Ravens 53-man roster.
The veteran wide receiver could be a key addition down the final stretch of the season as numerous other players will watch from the sidelines because of COVID-19.
“Dez is doing a good job," Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He’s really getting caught up, [and] he’s working hard at practice [and] in meetings. It’s good to have him aboard. We’ll just keep working, and we’ll see where that leads moving forward. I don’t think there’s any real timeline right now, but I do think that if Dez keeps progressing, he will definitely become a factor in what we do."
After being signed to Baltimore's practice squad on Oct. 27, Bryant made his debut Week 9 in a 24-10 victory over the Colts, but he did not get a target in his two snaps. He was left off the team the following week in a 23-17 loss to New England.
The Ravens elevated Bryant again last week in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans. He had his first catch—a 4-yard gain in the third quarter—since Dec 31, 2017. He finished four receptions on five targets for 28 yards.
"We’ll keep building on it and see where it goes," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I thought he made some good plays, especially one towards the end; that was a very valuable play for us, the catch-and-run on the last drive. [He] had a couple of look passes that he caught out there and got a few yards on.
"So, it’s positive. There are a lot of things he can do better. He and I texted back and forth about those things this morning. So, he’s very determined to be the best player that he can be at this stage, and we appreciate that about him.”
The Ravens signed Bryant looking to boost a passing attack that is currently ranked 31st in the NFL behind the winless Jets.
Bryant, 31, has played in 113 career games (99 starts), posting 531 receptions for 7,459 yards (14.0 average) and 73 touchdowns over eight years. He also has two punt return touchdowns, both of which he recorded as a rookie in 2010. Bryant has also appeared in three playoff games with 15 receptions for 218 yards and two touchdowns.
The goal now is to help the Ravens get back on track after losing three of the past four games. Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh for a game Tuesday after the original kickoff scheduled for Thanksgiving night had to be pushed back because of COVID-19 issues.
“Of course, being on the field is exciting, but I’m a natural competitor," Bryant said. "To me, wins and losses are the only thing that matters. I’m extremely happy to be a part of the Baltimore Ravens, and that’s the only thing that matters, is wins and losses. I don’t really care about anything else – I just want to win. That’s the only thing that matters, and I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing that matters to everybody else in this locker room.”