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WESTMINSTER, Md. — Since arriving at training camp, David Pittman’s mood hasn’t always matched his bright, blonde dreadlocks. The Baltimore Ravens’ rookie cornerback has battled the frustration stemming from a nagging strained hamstring that sidelined him for the majority of training camp prior to returning to practice Sunday.
When the third-round draft pick was finally healthy enough to return, teammates and coaches had to literally point out where he should line up. He promptly allowed a first down on a reception to tight end Bobby Blizzard.
The transition to the NFL from Division I-AA Northwestern State (La.) has been difficult so far for Pittman, who was tabbed as the favorite to replace nickel back Deion Sanders by defensive coordinator Rex Ryan when the Ravens drafted him in April.
“I guess with this game there’s always a lot of adversity,” Pittman said. “The main thing is to learn how to will through it and overcome it. My leg is feeling a lot better and it’s getting stronger each day. I just want to make the best impression I can by making plays and do what I’m capable of doing.”
Team officials remain hopeful that Pittman will eventually become acclimated to the NFL in terms of his health and game. Pittman was the only Division I-AA defensive back invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl where he gained the attention of scouts. He intercepted 11 passes in college, scoring four touchdowns and blocking two kicks.
“He stood out against the best players in the country,” Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta said. “He blew us away with his interview and his personality. He’s a really motivated and smart kid. He’s got a chance to play immediately at this level.”
For now, though, Pittman remains behind nickel back Corey Ivy and undrafted rookie cornerback Ronnie Prude has been operating as the dime back. Pittman is hopeful of making his game debut Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles after sitting out against the New York Giants.
“I have to work that rust off,” Pittman said. “I think I’ll be ready for this week. I know I will give it my all.”
MOORE RETURNS: Wide receiver Clarence Moore, who has been on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing two offseason sports hernia surgeries, practiced for the first time. He took part in all team drills during a non-contact workout.
TRAINING ROOM: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden didn’t practice and remains on the physically unable to perform list. Ogden is trying to get into football shape after missing the first few weeks of training camp following his father’s death. Ogden worked on the sidelines alongside his brother, former Ravens lineman Marques Ogden.
Ogden, who was in outstanding condition this spring after working with a personal trainer, appears to have gained back 25 to 30 pounds and might weigh as much as 350 to 360 pounds. Team officials aren’t rushing Ogden and have been sensitive to his personal ordeal.
"When they say he is ready, then he’ll go," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.
Besides Ogden, tight end Rob Abiamiri (leg), offensive guard Brian Rimpf (pulled hamstring) and safety B.J. Ward (migraines) didn’t practice. Ward is wearing sunglasses because of a sensitivity to light. Billick has said that it’s not concussion-related.
"That’s up to the doctors and how they are dealing with the headaches he’s having," Billick said.
Cornerback Samari Rolle and defensive end Trevor Pryce were given the afternoon off.
QUICK HITS: Billick praised the offensive and defensive lines for their work against New York. "The protection was outstanding, particularly in the two-minute drive," Billick said. "The protection was flawless. I think it was very symbolic of how they played in the first half." … Outside linebacker Dan Cody registered his first NFL sack against the Giants. "I thought he was going to pass out in the pregame, just hyperventilate," Billick said of Cody, who missed his entire rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament "You see that energy. You see that passion. It was great to see." … Tight end Daniel Wilcox hosted 200 Baltimore middle-school students at camp as a reward for completing a summer tutoring program. He’s also launching a back-to-school book drive.
Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.