Ravens had Dez Bryant mimic Chase Claypool during first week of practice in preparation for Steelers

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The Baltimore Ravens are willing to be patient with Dez Bryant as he gets back into football shape. Bryant, who has been out of football for several seasons, signed with the Ravens’ practice squad this week — finally ending up with Baltimore after the franchise pursued him years ago

Bryant’s first week in Baltimore may not have been exactly a role he envisioned when he was an All-Pro receiver years ago, but he was just what the Ravens needed this week. Wearing the No. 11 jersey on offense and catching passes, Bryant was involved in the game plan of sorts — acting as a Chase Claypool decoy as the Ravens prepare to renew their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers

“He did a great job of it,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh on Friday. “I thought he had a good week. It’s only three practices in after quite a layoff, but he looked good and he’s excited. We had a great talk before practice. He’s excited and he’s going hard. I thought he acquitted himself very well.”

The Ravens have not announced whether they’ll protect Bryant on their practice squad list of players or add him to the active roster for this week, as the franchise certainly has plans for him to contribute this season. The Ravens’ wide receivers rank last in receptions (58) and receiving yards (737) as Baltimore is second-to-last in passing yards. Baltimore doesn’t have a wide receiver — outside of Marquise Brown — with more than 11 receptions. 

Bryant will be a welcome addition when he’s ready. Despite not playing since the 2017 season, Bryant has caught 531 passes for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns in eight seasons, all with the Dallas Cowboys. He has three 1,000-yard seasons and three consecutive double-digit touchdown seasons from 2012 to 2014, while earning three Pro Bowl appearances. 

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