Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff pleased with making roster

Kicker says he has a lot of work left to do

September 05, 2010|By Jamison Henlsey and Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

The last four times Billy Cundiff had reached summer's end, he was the recipient of bad news.

So when the Ravens called him Saturday to inform him that he had beaten Shayne Graham for the kicking duties, elation took over.

"It was really nice to get a good call at this time of the year," Cundiff, 30, said Sunday afternoon. "In years past, that hasn't always been the case. This time, I was able to see the fruits of my labor. But we know that in January, no one really cares that you made the team. They want to know how well you played. So I've got a lot of work to do."

Since replacing Steve Hauschka on Nov. 18, Cundiff has converted 15-of-20 field goals in 14 regular-season and playoff contests with the Ravens. He was perfect on all three field goal attempts in four preseason games and finished with four touchbacks. Graham went 2-of-3 and registered two touchbacks.

While acknowledging that he wasn't surprised that he won the competition, Cundiff said his focus was meeting his goals on a daily basis, not comparing himself to Graham.

"My wife [Nicole] and I talked about it every day, and we made sure to never look past the next obstacle that was in front of us," he said. "When I looked back during my flight home [to Arizona Friday], I thought, 'Man, I took advantage of every situation I had, and I performed as well as I could considering what was laid out in front of me.' So I was really happy with what I had done, and when I got the call, I felt like it was affirmation and confirmation of what I had already thought of my performance."

Cundiff has the backing of the coaches, including head coach John Harbaugh who said in a written statement Saturday that Cundiff had "earned" his spot with his play. That confidence means a lot to Cundiff, but if there's anything the kicker has learned in playing for nine different NFL franchises, it's that his future isn't guaranteed.

"You have to remember this: I'm the guy now, but the NFL — when it comes to kickers — has established pretty much a universal standard," Cundiff said. "I think all 32 kickers, they all know what they need to do, and it doesn't change whether you're a minimum [salary] guy, a tendered guy or a big-contract guy. It's laid out there in front of you in that you've got to meet that standard or you're going to be playing week in and week out trying to keep your job."

Ex-Cowboys cornerback signed

The Ravens claimed rookie cornerback Bryan McCann off waivers a day after he was cut by the Dallas Cowboys, his agent confirmed Sunday.

McCann is listed as a cornerback, but he has also played safety at SMU. The undrafted rookie ran a 4.28 at his pro day this spring and led the Cowboys with a 10.8-yard average on punt returns in the preseason.

"He's very excited about the opportunity," agent John Biggins said. "I told [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] that he can help you win right now."

To make room for McCann, the team released undrafted rookie cornerback Prince Miller. If Miller passes waivers, he could be signed to the practice squad on Monday.

Practice squad announced

If Miller clears waivers, he could join a practice squad that already includes wide receiver Justin Harper, tight end Davon Drew, center/guard Bryan Mattison, running back Curtis Steele, linebacker Albert McClellan and offensive tackle Devin Tyler.

According to WPSD-TV, the NBC affiliate in Paducah, Ky., the eighth and final spot will be filled by Hunter Cantwell, a second-year quarterback out of Louisville who spent last season on the Carolina Panthers' practice squad.

The Ravens have yet to announce the signing of the 6-foot-4, 236-pound Cantwell, but the team could use a third quarterback after releasing Troy Smith on Saturday. The organization is carrying two quarterbacks — Joe Flacco and Marc Bulger — on their active roster for the first time since 2006.

Kindle headed to Baltimore

Sergio Kindle, the Ravens' top draft pick in the 2010 draft, is headed to Baltimore to undergo medical tests by the team, the rookie said on his Twitter account.

The second-round pick fractured his skull a few days before the start of training camp in late July. Kindle is expected to start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which will sideline him for at least the first six weeks of the season.

"I'm [going to] sit out some games but look for ya boy on that field sometime next month!," Kindle posted on Twitter. He also announced that he will wear No. 94.

Harbaugh indicated last week that Kindle was expected to come to Baltimore on Sept. 5. While Kindle is very optimistic about his return, the Ravens have taken a more cautious outlook.

End zone

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