Newsome: Door not closed on Stover

Street Talk Newsome: Door not closed on Stover

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OWINGS MILLS — Responding to veteran kicker Matt Stover’s comments that he’s no longer in the Baltimore Ravens’ plans, general manager Ozzie Newsome said Friday afternoon that there’s still a chance Stover could return.

Stover told 24×7 on Thursday night that team officials, including Newsome and coach John Harbaugh, said that the team is "going in a different direction."

"That door is not closed on Matt," Newsome said in a telephone interview from NFL competition committee meetings in Naples, Fla. "Both John and I met with Matt individually and he expressed his desires and what ours were. At that point, we had a very good understanding."

The third-most accurate kicker in NFL history with an 83.7 conversion percent and the owner of several NFL kicking records, including his total of 14 game-winning field goals, Stover is an unrestricted free agent who’s the lone remaining player from the franchise’s time in Cleveland as the original Browns.

Stover told the Ravens on Monday that he had an offer to kick for the New York Jets and was told by team officials that he should take it. However, Stover passed on the offer and the Jets signed his friend, Jay Feely.

"That answer made it very clear that they are not looking to keep me because they told me to go ahead and sign the contract with the Jets," Stover said. "The Ravens are going in a different direction now. I’ve moved on.

"We’ll see what other opportunities come. It could still be with the Ravens possibly, but I learned a long time ago that you don’t wait around. You make your adjustments."

Stover, 41, could still represent a potential fallback option for the Ravens.  

The Ravens are evaluating strong-legged former North Carolina State kicker Steve Hauschka, a kickoff specialist for Baltimore last season who hit a 54-yard field goal against the Houston Texans and missed an attempt from 52 yards.

The Ravens are expected to bring in competition for Hauschka, but the team is intent on just having one kicker on the roster during the regular season instead of a placekicker and a kickoff specialist. Stover’s kickoffs and long field goals have lost distance over the years.

"As John said, we’re just looking for one kicker, whether that means Steve Hauschka or whether that means Matt Stover," Newsome said. "But we’re looking to have just one kicker however that goes."

NOTE: Denver Broncos free agent reserve cornerback Karl Paymah, a special-teams standout who visited the Ravens on Thursday, is also talking with the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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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. 

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