OWINGS MILLS — Near the end of the regular season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism that tight end Mark Andrews could be back for the playoffs after sustaining a severe ankle injury on November 16th.
Andrews is back on the practice field this week as the Ravens prepared for the divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans on Saturday at 4:30 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Andrews was a full participant, which is encouraging for his availability this weekend. However, Andrews will make the call.
“It’s how I feel at the end of the day,” he said. “Just knowing how good this team is, how good our players are, how good our tight ends are, if I feel like I’m going to be helpful to the team, I’m going to go. If I feel like I’m close but not there, [I’ll] let these guys go and, hopefully, get [there] next weekend.”
Andrews suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damage in his left ankle against Cincinnati on a controversial hip-drop tackle by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. Andrews does not hold any animosity toward Wilson.
“It was kind of just an unfortunate event,” Andrews said. “I’m going to let everybody else do their thing. If they want to ban the tackle, [that’s] fine, but I’m going to go out there and play hard no matter what. I don’t blame the guy. He’s just playing ball.”
The Ravens will get a significant boost if Andrews is active against the Texans. Despite missing six games because of the injury, Andrews still ranked second on the team with 45 receptions for 544 yards and six touchdowns, best among the receivers.
Second-year tight end Isaiah Likely has played well in Andrews’ absence with 21 receptions for 322 yards and five touchdowns in six games. Andrews has mentored the young player on the sideline.
“[Isaiah Likely] has a natural feel for the game by himself,” Andrews said. “Just being there, supporting him [and] being a good teammate, that’s all I can do; let him shine – do his thing. It’s been awesome to see. Obviously, everybody in the tight-end room supports everybody. [Tight ends] coach [George] Godsey does a good job coaching them up, but he’s just a ballplayer.”