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Ravens sign rookie kicker Justin Tucker

Street Talk Ravens sign rookie kicker Justin Tucker

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens made it official, signing rookie kicker Justin Tucker to the roster following a successful tryout.

Tucker auditioned for the Ravens at a rookie minicamp, but wasn’t at the organized team activity last week before being invited back and signing his contract Tuesday heading into the start of the defending AFC North champions’ second organized team activity.

The Ravens cut wide receiver and kick returner Philip Livas to create a roster spot for Tucker. Livas was on the Ravens’ practice squad last season.

The former University of Texas standout connected on a 55-yard field goal during the first day of the rookie minicamp, leaving a good impression overall on coach John Harbaugh.

"He gets really good lift on the ball, very accurate," Harbaugh said of Tucker, who nearly made a 60-yard try. "He had a very good camp."

Now, Tucker is expected to remain with the Ravens and compete with veteran kicker Billy Cundiff during training camp.

"I’d say right now we have who we have, and we’ll just play it by ear," Harbaugh said when asked if the team still plans to sign a veteran kicker now that Shayne Graham has joined the Houston Texans. "That’s always unpredictable."

Tucker had a private workout for Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg a few days before the NFL draft.

Tucker made 17 of 21 field goals as a senior for the Longhorns after hitting 23 of 27 kicks as a junior.

"I was hitting the ball just as good as I ever have," Tucker said. "It feel like it was successful."

Tucker doubled as a punter for the Longhorns, averaging 40.3 yards per punt and connecting on 40 of 48 career field goals.

Last season, Tucker made a 40-yard game-winning field goal to beat archrival Texas A&M.

"Shoot, that’s a moment everybody’s looking for in sports," Tucker said. "Everybody wants a chance to hit a walk-off home run. To be able to have that opportunity and to be able to come through with it was a blessing altogether."

Now, he’s hoping to supplant Cundiff.

Cundiff missed a potential game-tying field goal during the final minute of the Ravens’ AFC championship game loss to the New England Patriots.

"I look forward to it, competing with a guy who’s had success," Tucker said. "It’ll be fun and it’ll be a challenge. You have to be mentally strong. You have to be able to come into a situation and be ready to perform.

"It doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing football for 15 years. I feel I have the mindset to step out on the field and basically do my job."

NOTE: Six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk attended the Ravens’ practice Tuesday after not going to last week’s voluntary practices, according to the team.

 

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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