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Justin Ellis returns to practice this week for Raiders, could play vs Ravens

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NFL: Oakland Raiders-Minicamp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden really likes Justin Ellis. He gave the big nose tackle new contract this offseason with designs on him being their run stopper in the middle. Even though he has on multiple occasions referred to him as “Sedrick” Ellis. That could be because as yet, he has barely had him on the field. He has been on injured reserve since the season opener. That could end this week.

“Hey, Justin, you practicing today?” Gruden yelled to Ellis as he happened to be passing by during Gruden’s press conference.

“Yes, sir,” Ellis responded.

“By God, he is. He is practicing,” said Gruden with a smile. “We’re happy... I don’t know if he’s going to play this week, but we’ve missed him a lot.”

Last season, Ellis had more tackles (48) than he did in his previous two seasons combined (43) and more than twice as many as his career best (22). The hope is that wasn’t just a ‘contract year’ performance form Ellis but a sign of things to come.

“He’s a run defender,” Gruden said of Ellis. “He’s a big part of this team, big part of this run defense. He gives our guys confidence. He’s a guy that’s a proven NFL player. I think he’ll be a real addition to our front.”

Should he be activated this week against the Ravens, it will mean another player will have to be waived to make a roster spot. But the team doesn’t need to do make that decision until Saturday.