Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley suffers “severe” season ending ankle injury
As tough as narrowly losing 28-24 to their AFC North archrival Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Sunday was for the Baltimore Ravens, finding out their stalwart blindside protector is done for the season was even tougher.
Two days after Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley inked a lucrative extension that made him the second-highest player at his position, the 2019 First-Team All-Pro selection suffered a “severe” season-ending ankle injury according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“It’s a tough loss, obviously. I feel bad for Ronnie,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a guy who’s been playing well. You mentioned the contract situation. It’s not really the main thing. The main thing is that he wants to play [and] he wants to be a part of it. He’s worked very hard to be out there and to contribute. That’s the nature of the game, oftentimes, unfortunately.”
Stanley had previously missed a game this season with a shoulder injury but had picked up where he left off in his 2019 breakout campaign but will now miss the remainder of the 2020 season.
He went down near the end of the opening quarter after Steelers outside linebacker TJ Watt rolled into the back of his ankle following a sack of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Stanley’s foot was firmly anchored in the turf when Watt’s weight and momentum caused it to bend backward.
Everyone in the stadium knew it was a serious injury when the athletic training staff placed an aircast on his leg and brought the cart out. Before he was carted off to the locker room the entire Ravens bench cleared as coaches, teammates and even a few Steelers players offered Stanley some words of encouragement.
In his postgame presser, Jackson said that the team wanted to win the game for Stanley following his injury.
“That’s our brother,” Jackson said. “It was all about him at that point when we saw him go down. He means a lot to our offense. … I’m just sorry we couldn’t get the victory for him.”
Stanley was the most notable but wasn’t the only loss the Ravens offensive line suffered due to injury. Rookie right guard Tyre Philips left the first half with an ankle injury of his own and after being listed as questionable to return, he was downgraded to out in the second half.
Starting right tackle Orlando Brown Jr flipped over to the left side, swing tackle DJ Fluker took over his duties, and backup center Patrick Mekari replaced Phillips at right guard.
It is never good for a team to have two of their starting five offensive linemen go down in one game let alone one half.
However, it was very encouraging to see that the Ravens were still able to assert their will on the ground all game long with their reshuffled front that featured two backups a starter playing out of position on the opposite side that he’s accustomed to.
Browns’ position switch will likely be permanent with Stanley out for the season. He filled in for his bookend mate and close friend in Week Four and performed well and was a three-year starter at left tackle in college at the University of Oklahoma so he’s no stranger to protecting a quarterback’s blindside.
“That’s somebody that’s helped me throughout my career, someone that’s done what he needed to do to put himself and his family up for the rest of their life,” Brown said. “Losing someone like that, a leader like that to this team and offensive line, it’s hard to put into words the effect that that takes on you a little bit as your morale. But it’s the NFL, and unfortunately, the mentality is next man up.”
On Friday, Stanley signed a five-year contract extension worth $98.75 million in new money, including $68.57 million in guarantees. He’s signed through the 2025 season so he’ll have plenty of time and financial security to focus on rehabbing so he can return to form.