John Harbaugh: 'Outside chance' Mark Andrews returns this season

November 20, 2023, 4:39 PM

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews might not be finished for the season, after all.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh provided a surprise update on Andrews on Monday, saying there's "an outside chance" that the three-time Pro Bowl tight end could return at some point this season. This glimmer of hope comes four days after Ravens officials had thought Andrews suffered a season-ending left ankle injury during Thursday's 34-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

"My understanding is in talking with our trainer and the doctors is that it wasn't as bad as initially feared right after the game," Harbaugh said. "It's a little cleaner than they thought based on the MRI."

Harbaugh said Andrews is currently with Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the team will know more when he returns later in the week.

"There might be an outside chance he could get back at some point in time," Harbaugh said. "So we'll just have to see how that goes though. And I don't want to say that's definitive by any stretch, but there is some optimism."

Asked if the Ravens are thinking Andrews could return for the playoffs, Harbaugh said, "I don't even want to say right now. Once he gets back, maybe later from this week, that's something we could mention and talk about because we would just know more. And also I'd probably have to lean into Mark on that too. What are his thoughts on it? So I don't want to speak for Mark either, but I'm tell you this, there's no bigger competitor. Nobody wants to be out there more than Mark Andrews."

Andrews, 28, has been  Lamar Jackson's favorite target and one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL. Since 2019, Andrews trails only Travis Kelce in receptions (347), receiving yards (4,305) and touchdown catches (37) by a tight end. Andrews is one shy of tying Todd Heap for most touchdown catches in franchise history (41).

It was a significant blow when Andrews injured his ankle on Baltimore's opening drive on Thursday. He was taken to the ground by a controversial "hip drop" tackle by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson.

Harbaugh said the decision on whether to take action on these types of tackles is "in good hands" with the competition committee.

With Andrews sidelined, Baltimore is expected to lean more on backup tight ends Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar. Harbaugh also indicated the Ravens could use more wide receiver packages in Andrews' absence.

"Everything's on the table, for sure," Harbaugh said. "Mark is a superstar player. It's impossible to replace him, per se. We have to replace him together as a group and I really believe we can do it. And then when he gets back, we'll just be that much stronger for it whenever that is."