In a surprising turn of events, Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews will be sidelined for the Baltimore Ravens’ season opener against the Houston Texans due to a quad injury. This marks only the second time in his illustrious six-year NFL career that Andrews will miss a game due to injury.
Throughout the week leading up to the game, Andrews’ availability had been uncertain as he was listed as questionable. He had been limited in practice, raising concerns about his ability to perform at his usual high level. The last time Andrews was forced to miss a game was during Week 9 of the previous season, when he was inactive due to shoulder and knee injuries. Despite his absence, the Ravens managed to secure a 27-13 victory against the New Orleans Saints.
In Mark Andrews’ absence, the Ravens will turn to Isaiah Likely, a promising talent drafted in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. During the previous season when Andrews was sidelined for two games (with an additional rest week), Likely stepped up admirably, amassing nine catches for 127 yards and contributing one touchdown to the team’s efforts.
The Ravens’ decision to rest Mark Andrews for Week 1 is a strategic one. They hope that this precautionary measure will allow him to recover fully and be in peak condition for the upcoming clash against the Cincinnati Bengals, the reigning AFC North champions. Since being drafted together by the Ravens in 2018, Andrews has emerged as quarterback Lamar Jackson’s primary target, connecting for an impressive 242 receptions, 3,195 yards, and 27 touchdowns over the course of five seasons.
Andrews’ recent quad injury has been a cause for concern among Ravens fans. He missed six consecutive practices last month due to this injury. Although he made a return to the field midweek, he was unable to complete practice sessions on both Wednesday and Thursday. When asked about his potential participation in the game against the Texans, Andrews remained noncommittal, describing the injury as “tricky” and expressing his hope to be back on the field, saying, “God willing, I’ll be out there.”
It’s worth noting that prior to the previous season, Andrews missed one game in 2019 as a strategic rest measure before the playoffs and two games in 2020 due to testing positive for COVID-19.
In a curious twist of fate, Andrews is not the only high-profile tight end sitting out Week 1, as Travis Kelce missed the Kansas City Chiefs’ opener due to a knee injury. This serves as a reminder that injuries can affect even the most elite athletes, underscoring the importance of a cautious and patient approach to recovery. Ravens fans will be eagerly anticipating Andrews’ return to the field as soon as he is back to full health.