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Tight end Pitta signs five-year deal with Ravens

Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (88) looks to get vertical after making a catch during the second qu
Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (88) looks to get vertical after making a catch during the second qu

(Reuters) - Tight end Dennis Pitta, who is a favored target for quarterback Joe Flacco, has signed a five-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, the National Football League team said on Friday.

Pitta, a fourth-round pick by the Ravens in the 2010 NFL Draft, had been set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.

Though no financial details were disclosed by the team, Pitta's deal is estimated by local media to be worth $32 million, making him one of the highest paid tight ends in the league.

"I could not be more excited to remain a Baltimore Raven," Pitta, 28, was quoted as saying by the Baltimore Sun. "To be given the opportunity to continue my career here is incredible.

"This organization drafted me and has always stood by me - especially during my difficult recovery last season - and for that, I am extremely grateful."

Pitta missed most of the 2013 season while recovering from a dislocated and fractured hip before returning to catch 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in the final four games.

"It was obvious when Dennis was out last year that we really missed him," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.

"We all admire how he fought back from the hip injury and helped us down the stretch. Having a weapon like Dennis makes everyone on our offense better."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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