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Dennis Pitta: Career could hinge on next three weeks

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Dennis Pitta's career could be hanging in the balance over the next three weeks.

The veteran tight end returned to practice on Monday, giving the Baltimore Ravens three weeks to activate Pitta or keep him on the PUP list, a decision that would effectively end his season.

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Pitta, who is battling back from his second serious hip injury, said he feels good physically and has rehabbed the injury with the goal of playing this season. If Baltimore decides that's not the plan, Pitta understands it will be time to examine his future.

"I would like to think that if I can't make it back this year, what's going to change next year?" Pitta said after Wednesday's practice, per ESPN.com. "For me, in my mind, I'm working to get back this year. If I can't, that might be it."

Pitta was once Joe Flacco's safety blanket in the Ravens' offense, but his career took a sharp turn for the worse on July 27, 2013, when he suffered a hip dislocation and fracture on the first day of padded practice in training camp. He returned the following season, but re-injured the same hip in September 2014.

Pitta has appeared in just seven games since the 2012 season. He knows he can't guarantee he'll play again.

"That's not really something I'm even ready to answer," he said. "This is obviously a period where we're just trying to get a feel for where I'm at and where I can potentially help the team if it comes to that. I'm encouraged by how it felt today."

The Ravens have Crockett Gillmore and second-round pick Maxx Williams contributing at tight end, so there's no clear path for Pitta. There's a very real chance this is the end.

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