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Ravens Cut K Billy Cundiff, Keep Rookie Tucker

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Billy Cundiff #7

Billy Cundiff #7

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BALTIMORE (AP/WJZ) — Kicker Billy Cundiff was cut Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens, who decided to keep rookie Justin Tucker instead of the former Pro Bowl star.

Tucker went 5 for 5 on field goal tries during Baltimore’s first three preseason games and showed more leg strength than Cundiff, 32. Tucker made two field goals of 50 yards or longer; Cundiff was 1 for 6 last year from that distance.

Tucker also comes at a cheaper price.

Cundiff’s place on the roster appeared in peril after coach John Harbaugh used Tucker for all the placekicking chores in Thursday night’s preseason win over Jacksonville.

Tucker was invited to camp as an undrafted free agent to challenge Cundiff, who made the Pro Bowl in 2010 but last season missed a potential game-tying, 32-yarder against New England in the waning seconds of the AFC title game.

Harbaugh liked the way Cundiff rebounded from the pivotal miss, but decided Tucker was simply the better choice for Baltimore in 2012.

In a statement, Coach John Harbaugh said, “Billy had a great camp, the best he has had with us. He showed, like he always has, a toughness and an ability to come back and be a top-flight NFL kicker. These decisions are never easy, and this one was difficult for all of us – Ozzie [Newsome], Jerry [Rosburg] and me. Of course, that says something about Justin [Tucker], the way he has kicked and our belief in him. But, that does not say something less about Billy. Billy was ready in every way to be our kicker. He’ll kick in the NFL. He’s a very good kicker and an even better person.”

Tucker, a standout at Texas, believes he’s become an even better kicker during training camp.

“To the naked eye, it doesn’t look like I’ve made a lot of changes, but I’ve made a complete transformation from the kicker I was in college to the kicker I am today,” he said Thursday. “I feel like I’m kicking the best I ever kicked.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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