Pitta at an August, 2011 M&T Bank Stadium practice.
No. 88 Baltimore Ravens
|Date of birth:June 29, 1985|
|Place of birth: Fresno, California|
|High school: Moorpark (CA)|
|College: Brigham Young|
|NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 4 / Pick: 114|
|Debuted in 2010 for the Baltimore Ravens|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Dennis Gregory Pitta II, nicknamed American Express (born June 29, 1985) is an American football tight end for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Brigham Young University (BYU) and was an All-American. He was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Pitta was born in Fresno, California to parents Dennis and Linda Pitta. His father played college football as a middle linebacker for California from 1968 to 1969. Pitta attended Moorpark High School in Moorpark, California, where he earned letters in football, basketball, and track. He is an Eagle Scout. He played football as a wide receiver and cornerback, and his large size made him difficult to cover. As a senior in 2002, Pitta recorded 64 receptions for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. That season, he was named a first-team all-county, all-league, and all-area player. He was a scholar-athlete all four years in high school and was also named a National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete. Pitta was shown interest by Dartmouth, Navy, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Utah, and Yale, but no Division I school offered him a scholarship.
Pitta chose to attend Brigham Young University, where he walked onto the BYU Cougars football team as a wide receiver. Pitta was moved to tight end by head coach Gary Crowton, where he soon earned a scholarship. He sat out the 2003 season on "grayshirt" status. In 2004, he saw significant playing time as a result of an injury to starter Daniel Coats. Pitta recorded 17 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns, and actually finished the season with more receptions than Coats. Both of his scores came in the game against Air Force, where he also blocked a punt upon which BYU capitalized for a score.
Pitta is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pitta participated in a Mormon mission in the Dominican Republic, which caused a two-year hiatus in his college football career. He returned to BYU for the 2007 season, and recorded 59 receptions for 813 yards and five touchdowns. He finished the season as the nation's fifth-leading tight end in yards per game at 63. Pitta was named to the All-Mountain West Conference (MWC) first team, and he also received Academic All-MWC honors.
In 2008, he recorded 83 receptions for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns. Against Northern Iowa, he compiled 213 yards, which broke the conference receiving yards record for a tight end and earned him the John Mackey Tight End of the Week honors. Against Colorado State, he caught the game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Max Hall, and was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week and a MWC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Pitta finished the season as the team's second-leading receiver. He was a Lombardi Award and Biletnikoff Award candidate, and a Mackey Award semifinalist. Pitta was named to the All-MWC first team, and again received Academic All-MWC honors. College Football News and Sports Illustrated named him an honorable mention All-American, and Rivals.com named him to its All-America third team.
Prior to the 2009 season, The NFL Draft Scout, a CBS Sports affiliate, rated Pitta as the sixth-ranked out of 92 tight ends available for the 2010 NFL Draft. They project him as being selected in the third or fourth round. Phil Steele's assessed him as the fourth-ranked draft-eligible tight end and placed him on its preseason All-America fourth team.
|Category||Number||BYU Rank, All Time||Notes|
|Career receptions||221||1st||Passed Austin Collie (215) in 2009|
|Career receiving yards||2,883||3rd||1st for TEs|
|Season receiving yards||1,083||8th||1st for TEs|
|Career receiving touchdowns||21||6th (tied with Mike Chronister)||2nd for TEs behind Gordon Hudson (22)|
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 4½ in||245 lb||32¼ in||10 in||4.63 s||34 in||9 ft 5 in||27 reps|
|All values from NFL Combine|
Baltimore Ravens (2010-present)
Pitta was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The pick was one of three that the Ravens acquired in a trade with the Denver Broncos on the first night of the draft on April 22. The Broncos received a first-round pick which was used to select Tim Tebow. Pitta was signed to a three-year contract on June 21, 2010. In his rookie year, Pitta had only one catch for a single yard while playing behind Todd Heap and fellow-rookie Ed Dickson. In 2011 however, quarterback Joe Flacco looked for Pitta often, and Pitta stepped into a more valuable role, with 40 catches for 405 yards and three touchdowns. By then, Terrell Suggs nicknamed him "American Express".
In the Ravens' 2012 season opener in Cincinnati, Pitta caught 5 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, with quarterback Joe Flacco targeting him 10 times. As of October 1st he is the starting TE in front of Ed Dickson, but Dickson was listed ahead of Pitta in the Super Bowl win against San Francisco 49ers. In Super Bowl XLVII Pitta caught four balls for 26 yards and a touchdown to help lead the Ravens to a 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. In the entire playoffs, he caught touchdowns in 3 of the 4 games.
On May 13, 2013, the Baltimore Ravens announced that Pitta signed his second round restricted free agent tender worth $2.023 million.
On July 27, 2013, Pitta suffered a dislocated and fractured hip during training camp and underwent surgery the same night. Pitta was not immediately placed on injured reserve and examinations of the hip revealed no ligament or cartilage damage, leaving some hope that Pitta may be able to return sometime during the 2013 season.
- Ryan Mink (January 28, 2013). "Dennis Pitta Is American Express". Baltimore Ravens. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
- Rosen, Jill (August 16, 2012). "Famous Baltimore-area Eagle Scouts". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Dennis Pitta, Brigham Young University, retrieved August 1, 2009.
- PITTA PRESENTS A TALL ORDER, Daily News of Los Angeles, October 7, 2002.
- Cougar adjusts to new position, Deseret News, October 27, 2004.
- Pitta keeps tradition alive, Deseret News, June 17, 2007.
- Filling the gaps; Walk-ons big part of Y.'s revolving missionary door, Deseret News, October 26, 2004.
- Dennis Pitta Stats, ESPN, retrieved August 1, 2009.
- Dennis Pitta, The NFL Draft Scout, retrieved August 1, 2009.
- Phil Steele's 2009 College Football Preview, vol. 15, p. 5, 2009.
- "Dennis Pitta Combine Profile", NFL.com, retrieved February 27, 2010.
- All-Time Draft Choices – Baltimore Ravens.
- "Ravens trade 25th overall pick to Denver Broncos," The Associated Press, Thursday, April 22, 2010.
- Hensley, Jamison (June 21, 2010). "Fourth-round TE Dennis Pitta reaches three-year agreement". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- Hanzus, Dan (May 13, 2013). "Dennis Pitta signs $2.023M Baltimore Ravens tender". NFL.com. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- Wilson, Aaron (August 13, 2013). "Ravens haven't ruled out Dennis Pitta for the season". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved August 15, 2013.