The clock is ticking for the Ravens and kicker Justin Tucker to reach a contract extension.
The two sides must come to an agreement by July 15 or Tucker will play under the one-year franchise tag worth $4.5 million. They could still settle on a contract before next year's free agency opens, but not before the 2016 regular season ends.
On Tuesday, Tucker said he didn't have any update on the contract negotiations.
"As of right now, I'm optimistic and hopeful that something will get done," he said. "As far as I'm concerned and everybody is still concerned, there's still plenty of time to get something locked in. And that is absolutely the goal – to get something locked in."
It's not uncommon for a player under the franchise tag to skip voluntary Organized Team Activities (OTAs). Yet Tucker participated throughout the two weeks, even with a one-month newborn baby at home in Texas.
Tucker has been flying back and forth from Texas to Maryland for practice. He's between places to live, so he crashed with long snapper Morgan Cox during the first week of OTAs and is spending this week with tight end Dennis Pitta.
"To me, it's really simple," Tucker said. "I'm here participating because I love football and I want to get better in whatever way that I can, and I know I will be able to get better by working directly with my teammates, especially Morgan and Sam [Koch]."
Last season, Tucker became the fastest kicker in NFL history to score 500 points (60 games) in a career, and finished as the second-most accurate kicker of all time (87.8 percent).
However, the 2013 Pro Bowler posted the lowest field-goal percentage (82.5) of his four-year career. He was 33-for-40 on field goals and, once again, hit all of his extra-point attempts.
A major reason for the lower success rate is that Tucker attempted a career-high 10 field goals from 50 yards or beyond (most in the NFL). He connected on four for a career-low 40 percent success rate. Tucker missed just one attempt from inside 50 yards last year, but he's working on improving his accuracy from long range.
On Tuesday, Tucker nailed a 50-plus-yard* *shot near the start of practice outdoors. After rain chased the team indoors, he ended practice with another long attempt. Before the ball sailed through the uprights, Tucker screamed out, "eEEE!"
Though he doesn't have his long-term deal yet, Tucker still approaches his work with the same intensity – and comedy.