OWINGS MILLS, Md, — Mark Ingram said his goodbye to Baltimore hours before he was officially released by the Ravens.
The veteran running back dealt with injuries early this past season and he fell behind rookie J.K. Dobbins and third-year player Gus Edwards on the depth chart.
Ingram finished this past season ranked fourth on the team with 299 yards on 72 carries with a pair of touchdowns.
Ingram's departure became apparent after he was a healthy scratch over four of the last five games of the regular season and playoffs.
Baltimore will create $5 million in cap space by releasing Ingram. The timing works well for him because there will be plenty of time to find a new team if he decides to continue his career.
At age 31, Ingram might have to accept a backup role.
The Ravens selected Dobbins when he unexpectedly fell to them in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. Dobbins worked his way up the depth chart and finished the season ranked second on the team with 805 yards on 134 carries with nine touchdowns. He recorded a rushing score in seven consecutive games, including the wild-card playoff game against Tennessee, that tied for the second-longest streak by a rookie in NFL history.
Dobbins was a staunch supporter of Ingram and valued the veteran's guidance and leadership. Ingram also was a staunch supporter of quarterback Lamar Jackson and continuously lobbied for the young quarterback to win the NFL MVP last season.
"Mark is an unbelievable guy, a big brother to me," Dobbins said. "He still texts me every day. He's still happy for me every day. He actually helped me with the process, teaching me things to do to help me be mentally prepared, to stay locked in. He's just an amazing guy."
The Ravens also have to make a decision with running back Gus Edwards, who is a restricted free agent. Edwards was third on the team with 723 yards on 144 carries with six touchdowns. He's more of a downhill runner than Dobbins and provides versatility to the ground attack.
Ingram signed a three-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens as a free agent in March 2019 after spending his entire eight-year career with the New Orleans Saints. In his first season as a Raven, Ingram earned a third trip to the Pro Bowl after leading Baltimore in rushing attempts (202) and rushing touchdowns and was and ranked second behind Jackson in rushing yards (1,018).