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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-03-14

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-03-14

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-03-14
Matt Stover said he is no longer in the Ravens' immediate plans.

The only place-kicker in the team's 14-year existence, Stover said he approached the Ravens with an offer he had received from the New York Jets. The Ravens informed him they were moving on, Stover said.

Stover, 41, is the only player remaining from the team's relocation from Cleveland.

"At that point, we knew for sure their direction was not to keep me," said Stover, who did not end up signing with the Jets. "They want to go in another direction."

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome declined to comment on whether the veteran kicker is in the team's immediate plans but said there is a chance that he could return here.

"Is the door closed on him coming back to kick in Baltimore? No, it's not," Newsome said.

The Ravens consider Stover a fallback option. If the Ravens aren't comfortable with their kicker situation, they could ask Stover to return before the regular season begins.

Stover also pointed out the Ravens can easily contact him because he lives a street over from Newsome.

"I do realize they may not find that person and they might end up giving me a call," Stover said. "I understand that. But I also have to move on, too."

The Ravens are looking to develop Steve Hauschka, last season's kickoff specialist, but they will sign another kicker to compete for the job, a team source said.

The team had talked with Mike Nugent before he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, the Ravens could draft a kicker or sign a veteran free agent as late as after the draft.

It is believed the Ravens wanted to explore other options because keeping Stover has meant carrying a kickoff specialist. The team would prefer to use one roster spot on a kicker.

"Are we looking to possibly have some competition for Hauschka? Yes," Newsome said. "Who that is going to be? I can't tell you."

Newsome declined to comment on whether the Ravens would consider signing Stover over the next month. But Newsome reiterated that it's too early to presume that Stover's run with the Ravens is over.

"I never say never," Newsome said. "We've had guys come back to us all the time."

In 2008, Stover connected on 81.8 percent of his field-goal attempts, his worst rate since 1998.

Stover said he talked with Newsome after the season and was told he would receive a call later. But Stover said he never heard back from Newsome.

That's why Stover isn't surprised the Ravens decided to try another kicker. If Stover's career with the Ravens is over, only linebacker Ray Lewis remains from the 2000 Super Bowl team.

"I understand what they're doing," Stover said. "But I don't like it, of course. Nobody does. I don't feel like I've been mistreated. Talking to me prior to free agency might have been a nice thing to do. But they didn't have to."

Stover is the third-most-accurate kicker in NFL history, having made 83.7percent of his field-goal attempts.

He holds four NFL records: most game-winning field goals (14); consecutive games with a field goal (38); most games with at least four field goals (26); and most consecutive point-after kicks made (389).

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 14, 2009

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