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6 Ravens Whose Careers Were Altered By Injuries

Every athlete knows the risks that are associated with a high level of competition. But when the risk outweighs the reward, is it better to quit while you're ahead? Whether they chose to retire, or were forced to due to injury, these Baltimore Ravens listed below had some big decisions to make about their futures in the NFL.

Let's start with the more recent injury that everyone is talking about; Dennis Pitta. His first injury in 2013 left Pitta with a dislocated and fractured hip during training camp and he underwent surgery the same night and started rehab. He then injured the same hip again in 2014, going down without a direct hit, and underwent surgery again. This injury prematurely ended his 2014 season and he's been on the PUP list every since. The Ravens recently announced it was in his best interest to not come back this season. So for now, Pitta has been placed on IR, but he's signed on until 2019, so we'll see.

Going back a bit further, Peter Boulware, the Ravens' all-time sack leader, was originally out for almost 16 months due to a knee injury, was released and eventually brought back. But alas, had a serious knee injury again in 2004 that placed him on IR. He finally returned in 2006 at a lower salary, but the Ravens released him again that year. He just wasn't the same player due to the injuries so he decided to retire.

In 2002, the Ravens lost Ray Lewis for 11 games due to a shoulder injury. Then again in 2005, Lewis was hurt with a thigh injury, and he missed 10 games that season. Lewis then suffered torn triceps in 2012 during a game against the Dallas Cowboys, and had them surgically repaired three days later. He was expected to return to action that December but was inactive for the game. Then on January 2, 2013, Lewis announced he will retire after his team finishes the 2012–13 NFL playoffs. But we all know how his story ended when Ray announced his last ride.

In 2005, safety Ed Reed missed six games due to an ankle injury, and then he also missed another six games due to a hip injury in 2010. He went to the Texans and the Jets, underwent arthroscopic surgery for his hip to repair a small labral tear and then spent the entire 2014 year out of football. He announced his retirement on May 6, 2015 and signed a one-day contract with the Ravens and officially retired on May 7, 2015.

Let's just talk about that infamous Achilles' injury, that has taken out two major players for the Ravens this season. In the first game of the 2015 season, outside linebacker and team leader Terrell Suggs suffered a torn Achilles tendon, for the second time, ending the season for the 13-year veteran. No word yet on his return. The Ravens also lost Steve Smith Sr. to a torn Achilles during the team's 29-26 win over the Chargers in Baltimore. This was supposed to be Smith's year to retire, but now that he can't go out with a bang, will he back for more in 2016?

At the end of the day, what is more important: being able to play or being able to walk?

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