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Ravens' Andrews glad hip-drop tackle banned: It's 'not a bad thing'

Rob Carr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Count Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews as one of the players who's happy to see the league ban the hip-drop tackle.

"I'm always an advocate for making the game safer," Andrew said in a press conference on Tuesday. "You look at the last, maybe five years, there's been a lot of big injuries with that. Bringing the awareness to that type of tackle is good. Keeping guys healthy is going to be great.

"(Taking) that tackle out of the game is not a bad thing, I don't think. I think the defenses can find a way to get around that."

The three-time Pro Bowler missed close to two months of action last season after Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson pulled him to the ground using the maneuver. Andrews had surgery after sustaining a fractured fibula and ligament damage from the incident.

NFL owners voted unanimously to remove the hip-drop tackle at the annual league meeting in March. Violation of the rule will result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down if it's flagged during the game. But NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent suggested that it could be enforced similarly to the "use of helmet" rule - the players are given warning letters and fines instead of an in-game penalty, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

Miraculously, Andrews returned to the Ravens' lineup in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs after missing just seven games, including a playoff contest. Baltimore initially feared he would miss the remainder of the season, but Andrews made two catches for 15 yards in his return.

The former All-Pro tight end has led the Ravens in receiving yards in each of the previous two seasons (2021-2022) before his injury-shortened campaign. He's recorded 381 receptions, 4,857 yards, and 40 touchdowns since being drafted in 2018.

Isaiah Likely enjoyed a breakout campaign with Andrews sidelined. The former fourth-round pick, serving as Baltimore's top tight end, hauled in 30 receptions for 411 yards and five touchdowns through most of the final half of the 2023 campaign.

With Likely entering his third year and Andrews returning to full health, the Ravens could boast one of the more talented TE groups in the league next season.

"It's going to be special," Andrews said. "When you have two guys like that that are dynamic, mismatches all over the field, doesn't matter where you put us, that's tough to game plan for. Both guys that love to play ball, love to compete. It's going to be fun."

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