OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh delivered some unexpected news Monday when he announced that wide receiver Breshad Perriman was taken off the physically unable to perform list.
While the former first-round pick still has not been cleared to participate in a full practice, his return was an emotional boost to the team.
"He's in great spirits," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's worked extremely hard. I think he's really grown through all of this. He's learned to how to really work with the rehab. He's been forced to do that. We're looking forward to seeing how he looks when he comes back."
In three years at Central Florida, Perriman had 115 receptions for 2,243 yards and broke the school record by averaging 19.5 yards per catch. He also scored 16 touchdowns in 39 games.
Those numbers helped him be selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 draft. However, Perriman injured his right knee on the first day of last year's training camp and he didn't play a snap.
That was a huge blow to the Ravens, who could not establish a legitimate downfield passing threat without Perriman in the lineup.
After spending most of the year rehabbing, Perriman injured his left knee in the team's OTAs in June. However, arthroscopic surgery showed that he did not have a torn ACL, which would have sidelined him for the second consecutive year. Instead, Perriman was given a stem cell injection to hasten the healing process.
The timetable for Perriman's return was mid-August, but after he did not practice last week, there were more questions about whether he would be ready to play by the regular season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 11.
Now, it's possible Perriman could play in the preseason.
-- The Ravens pride themselves on a stout defense that intimidates opponents.
Harbaugh, however, expressed some concerns after the Indianapolis Colts amassed 93 yards on 23 carries in the second preseason game on Saturday. Even though a 9-yard scramble by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck helped skew the numbers, Harbaugh said his defenders need to hold themselves to a higher standard.
"Andrew had a couple of long runs, and I think that's where you get the four yards per carry," Harbaugh said Monday. "Otherwise, it would have been three or three-plus. I would say that for the Ravens, three yards per carry from the running backs is still too much. We have a high bar for being about low twos or mid-twos per carry for running backs. That's what we'll be looking for this year."
Baltimore also had some trouble getting to the quarterback, allowing Luck to complete all eight of his pass attempts for 71 yards. However, Baltimore was playing without linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, both of whom are working their way back from injuries.
Suggs returned to practice last week from a torn Achilles and Dumervil (foot) was taken off the PUP list Monday. In 2014, Suggs and Dumervil combined for 29 sacks -- the most by any duo in the league.
Dumervil said the two will be looking to get back to that form this year.
"We are going to try our best," Dumervil said. "I know we both love this game. We are both itching to come back and be the guys that we were. It is a work in progress, but we are excited, and we are looking forward to that challenge."
Baltimore allowed 25.1 points per game last season -- 24th in the NFL-- and this helped lead to the disappointing 5-11 finish. The Ravens' defenders are confident their play will improve as they continue to get more comfortable with one another.
"It was a tough year for all of us on many levels," Dumervil said. "But that is the good thing about football and life 0 you always have a second opportunity. We have to make sure we maximize and seize the moment."
-- Safety Matt Elam injured his knee in the second preseason game against Indianapolis on Saturday and will undergo arthroscopic surgery. Elam missed all of last season with a biceps tear.
"Matt Elam fell on his knee in the game - didn't find this out until (Sunday) - and has to go and do an arthroscopic surgery to clean it out," Harbaugh said. "He had a chip come loose in there. It won't be a season-ending injury by any stretch. They say it's about some number of weeks into the early part of the season. We'll see how that goes, and it's unfortunate for him, but Ozzie (Newsome, general manager) will deal with it roster-wise however he decides to deal with it."
NOTES: TE Dennis Pitta has a fractured finger and there is no timetable for his return. Pitta suffered the injury during a scuffle at practice. "It's absurd that it even happened," Harbaugh said. "It's a break in the finger, as it turned out, when they did the MRI. They're afraid that if he gets it hit again, then they may have to put a screw in it. It's just that kind of a fracture." Pitta has been trying to make a comeback from two devastating hip injuries in the past three years. ... RB Terrance West jammed his finger in third quarter against the Colts and was forced out of the game. West, however, was able to return and finished with 33 yards nine carries. West was impressive throughout training camp and is in the mix for the starting job. ... QB Joe Flacco, who underwent season-ending knee last season, was held out for the second straight preseason game. Flacco could make his debut Saturday against the visiting Detroit Lions (7 p.m.) but the team has been noncommittal about him playing. Flacco said last week that while the knee "feels great," he is still not 100 percent. Backup Ryan Mallett made his second straight start against the Colts and completed six of eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. He had a 128.6 passer rating.