RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Team acquires speedy cornerback

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Team acquires speedy cornerback

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens claimed speedy undrafted rookie cornerback Bryan McCann off waivers Sunday from the Dallas Cowboys, a transaction that cost cornerback Prince Miller his roster spot.

If Miller clears waivers, he has agreed to join the practice squad and is slated to officially do so today.

McCann led the Cowboys with a 10.8 punt return average this preseason. The former Southern Methodist defensive back ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds at his Pro Day workout.

"Ozzie Newsome told me their scouts had their eyes on Bryan and are excited to have him in Baltimore," McCann’s agent, John Williams Bibbins told 24×7. "He’s a football player. They liked that he can return punts and play in the secondary. This kid is electric in the open field.

"The Cowboys told me that Bryan was their last cut. I told them they were making a mistake. They wanted to bring him back for the practice squad, but this is a better opportunity."

McCann was an All-Conference USA honorable-mention selection last season, intercepting three passes.

Growing up in Oklahoma, McCann was a 100-meter state champion in high school.

"He’s a great character kid," Bibbins said. "The Cowboys said his footwork was as good as the veterans. He has the potential to be a lockdown cornerback. He can be physical and come up in run support. He’s a sure tackler. He’s very intelligent, he majored in economics."

An undrafted rookie from the University of Georgia, Miller narrowly avoided being cut Saturday and thought he was safe Sunday until being informed of the Ravens’ change in plans.

"I figured I would be around, whether it was active roster of practice squad," Miller said Sunday prior to being released. "I was just wondering what was going to happen. I’ve got to make the most of my opportunity. Obviously, they saw something in me to keep me around.

"People tell me how rare it is for a free agent to make it this far. I’m very thankful. You try to stay even-keel no matter what happens. I want to prove myself and show that I belong."

Miller misjudged a punt during the preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams, retreating inside the Ravens’ 10-yard line and fumbled it into the end zone for a touchback.

"I was just trying to make a play," he said. "I made a bad decision, but it’s something you learn from. I’m glad it was the preseason."

PRACTICE SQUAD FORMED: Besides cutting Miller, the Ravens signed six players to the practice squad and plan to also sign former Carolina Panthers quarterback Hunter Cantwell today.

That includes tight end Davon Drew, wide receiver Justin Harper, offensive lineman Bryan Mattison, outside linebacker Albert McClellan, running back Curtis Steele and offensive tackle Devin Tyler.

Cantwell agreed to terms with the Ravens after being cut by Carolina on Saturday.

A second-year player from Louisville who was on the Panthers’ practice squad last season until December when he was promoted when Jake Delhomme was placed on injured reserve, Cantwell is a strong-armed 6-foot-4, 236-pounder.

He’ll give the Ravens a third quarterback after they cut former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith on Saturday.

At Louisville, Cantwell was a walk-on who backed up Brian Brohm for three seasons before getting his chance as a senior. He passed for 2,493 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, former Ravens practice squad offensive tackle Joe Reitz was claimed by the Miami Dolphins and signed to their active roster.

MAKING THE TEAM: Outside linebacker Edgar Jones said he didn’t get stressed out during the Ravens’ roster cuts Saturday.

He was one of the final 53 players to make the team.

"That’s always been my approach is to stay relaxed and happy," Jones said. "When it comes to football, you can’t worry about what you can’t control. I enjoyed my day and stayed calm."

Jones’ prospects got a boost when the Ravens traded outside linebacker Antwan Barnes to the Philadelphia Eagles for a late-round draft pick believed to be a seventh-round selection.

Barnes is a good pass rusher, but fell out of favor with the coaching staff last season. He wasn’t as passionate about special teams as several other players, including Jones.

"Seeing Antwan go kind of caught me off-guard," Jones said. "I’m sorry to see him go. At this level, any level, sports or business, you’ve got to realize it’s a business."

Jones is looking forward to beginning preparations today for the Ravens’ season-opener Sept. 13 against the New York Jets.

"Preseason and training camp, those are your trying times," Jones said. "Now, the job is to focus on the Jets and that Monday night game. We’ll get into it and watch that film."


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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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