Some reunions are joyful, others vengeful. In the case of the Baltimore Ravens facing former tight end Hayden Hurst in Week 5, the two pose more as old friends than bitter enemies.
The Ravens had a chance to sign Hurst this past offseason, but the Bengals picked him up instead as a replacement for C.J. Uzomah.
Hurst has been faring well in Cincy so far, hauling in 104 receiving yards and a touchdown, though the Ravens don’t seem to have any qualms about trading him to the Atlanta Falcons three years ago.
A former first-round pick by Baltimore, Hurst doesn’t harbor any hostility toward the Ravens for that trade — or so he says.
Hurst recently told The Athletic:
"“I have no hard feelings toward Baltimore. It was a great two years. Obviously, I wish things would have been different. That’s just the way this business goes, so I move on. I’m in a great place here. It’ll be really cool seeing the guys, seeing some of the coaches, obviously seeing Nick (Boyle) and Mark (Andrews), seeing some of the restaurant owners that we used to go to. It’ll be a good time.”"
Ravens aim to take down one head of the three-headed monster in Week 5
Hurst, Mark Andrews, and Nick Boyle formed the infamous “three-headed monster” who helped the Ravens win back-to-back AFC North titles in 2018 and 2019.
In Lamar Jackson’s MVP-winning season, those three tight ends accounted for 45 percent of the team’s receiving yards and also played an enormous part in the blocking game as the Ravens rushed for a record 3,296 yards.
Andrews and Boyle have since stayed with the team with 2022 rookie Isaiah Likely serving as depth at the position.
Andrews, who Baltimore drafted 61 picks after Hurst, has risen to prominence as not only the Ravens’ most consistent pass-catcher but as arguably the best tight end in the league in the last two years.
Hurst hasn’t been doing too bad, either, and enters Week 5 in optimal form: he scored his first Bengals touchdown in a victory over the Miami Dolphins, and over the last four games, he has carved out a sizeable role for himself as the top tight end in Cincinnati.
Andrews and Hurst will square off on Sunday night in a tale of friends-turned-foes that makes out to be less hostile than one would think.
Revenge isn’t the name of the game. Winning is, and both tight ends will be looking to help their respective teams secure a key advantage in the AFC North title race in Week 5.