Ravens Lose Highest-Paid Player to Season-Ending Injury

Ravens Ronnie Stanley

Getty Baltimore Ravens quarteback Lamar Jackson and left tackle Ronnie Stanley react to a play during a January 2020 playoff game.

Baltimore Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley will undergo season-ending surgery on his ankle, the team announced today, moving the All-Pro on injured reserve for the remainder of the year.

The news is the latest update in a yearlong injury saga for Stanley, who fractured, dislocated and tore ligaments in his ankle during a November 2020 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The injury ended his 2020 season, and now does the same to his 2021 season, though Stanley was able to make one start in Week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

But a setback to his ankle sidelined the Notre Dame product for the last five games, with increasingly concerning signs coming out of Baltimore regarding Stanley’s progress.

Between an influx of offensive linemen and ominous updates from head coach John Harbaugh, Ravens fans began to fear that Stanley wouldn’t play another snap this season.

Those fears were confirmed today, as Stanley set a return goal of 2022 following his second surgery on his ankle in as many years.

The operation was performed today by Dr. Robert Anderson, renowned orthopedic surgeon and foot and ankle expert from Green Bay, Wisconsin, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Stanley is the Ravens’ highest-paid player, having signed a five-year, $99 million contract the day before he injured his ankle last season, per Spotrac.

Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva will play out the year at left tackle, where he took over for Stanley in Week 2. The former Steeler struggled in Week 1 on the right side, but has mostly excelled at his natural position in the last five games.


Ravens Thriving Despite Injuries

Stanley joins 16 other Ravens on the injured reserve list, the highest total in the NFL. But despite missing Stanley, All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, tight end Nick Boyle and defensive end Derek Wolfe, the Ravens are 5-1, the best record in the AFC.

The offensive line has been especially beat up, with Stanley, starting left guard Tyre Phillips and rookie guard Ben Cleveland all missing time.

Villanueva’s move to left tackle left a hole at right tackle, which has been impressively filled by third-year offensive lineman Patrick Mekari.

Mekari mostly played center and guard for the Ravens during the first two seasons of his career, logging only 32 career snaps at right tackle before this year. But he’s excelled this year, allowing only two sacks and 10 quarterback pressures in over 200 pass-blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus.

John Harbaugh called Mekari “spectacular” yesterday, praising Mekari’s ability to step up at right tackle this season.

“He’s locked in at right tackle, and I couldn’t ask for a better player there right now,” added Harbaugh.


Stanley Releases Statement

Stanley released a statement through the Ravens accompanying the announcement of his move to injured reserve, telling fans, “This is not what I wanted or expected when coming into the season.

The rest of the statement reads:

“Throughout the last year, I did everything I could to be 100% healthy so I could be out there playing for our team and city. As a competitor, I have a mindset of sacrificing my body for my brothers and my team to reach our goals. At this point in time, my ankle isn’t where it should be. This is the best decision not only for my health, but also for the team long term. I look forward to supporting my team from the sideline this season and coming back fully healthy in 2022.”

The Ravens will be hoping that Stanley will indeed be able to recover in time to rejoin the team before the start of the 2022 season.


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