Ravens' Pittman hoping for health

WESTMINSTER -- David Pittman is crossing his fingers and praying that his cycle of injury setbacks is nearly at an end. The Baltimore Ravens' third-year cornerback is sidelined again with a foot injury, specifically his arch. It's a nagging problem that forced him onto the physically unable to perform list when training camp opened last week.

After missing the majority of the Ravens' offseason minicamps with the foot injury, Pittman was activated a few days ago and was practicing well and even snagged an interception.

Now, the former third-round draft pick has incurred another minor setback with a related foot injury and is out for at least a few days in his estimation.

"It's not the exact same thing, but it may be something like an overcompensation thing," Pittman said. "It's sore when I put weight on it. There's all kinds of treatment I'm getting for it."

Despite the constant struggles with his health, Pittman expressed confidence that he will be ready for the Ravens' preseason opener Thursday against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

"Yeah, right now, I think I'm 100 percent sure I can make it and play in that game," he said.

At 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, Pittman has the requisite size and s peed to play cornerback in the NFL.

Drafted with the 87th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, Pittman didn't play in a single game as a rookie and drew criticism from defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for his work habits. Specific complaints were made about him not putting enough time in studying film or lifting weights.

Last year, the coaching staff began making positive comments about how much Pittman's work ethic and confidence had grown. He has gotten stronger and more physical as a tackler and in jamming wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.

By the end of last season, the soft-spoken former Division I-AA standout at Northwestern State (La.) was on an upward trend. He recorded a career-high two interceptions and 10 tackles.

In the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittman made his first NFL start and registered seven tackles, knocked down three passes and had an interception.

Because of injuries, though, Pittman has yet to consistently make an extended impression on the new coaching staff.

With the acquisition of cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Frank Walker and the healthy return of starters Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle, the reality facing Pittman is that he's fighting for a roster spot along with Derrick Martin and Ronnie Prude.

"It is a tight competition for roster spots," Pittman said. "Everybody in the secondary has a real competitive edge to them. As you can see, we're not just competing with the receivers, but am ongst each other.

"I don't worry about that. I just know that once I get healthy I will be able to show what I can do."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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