Ravens long-snapper Morgan Cox tore his right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons.
"Morgan is going to be out for the year. I'm sorry to report that," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We'll be looking for a long snapper."
The Ravens will likely audition free agents early this week and sign one before practices begin. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who successfully filled in for Cox on one extra-point snap, will not be the long-term replacement.
"Nope, no way," Ngata said. "They are bringing somebody in."
An MRI is slated for tomorrow to confirm that it's an ACL tear. It's the second ACL tear for Cox. He tore his left one in Week 16 of his 2010 rookie season.
Cox suffered the injury in the fourth quarter when running down on punt coverage.
"Was running down the field, was trying to turn the returner back in, planted, got blocked and just felt it," Cox said. "I felt a lot of pain, so yeah; I assumed it was something pretty serious."
Cox tried to look at the positives after the injury, saying that since he went down in Week 7 he'll have more time to rehabilitate with his teammates and friends around him. He had to rehab during the offseason after his first ACL tear.
He's also been through the rehabilitation process before and made a full recovery.
"I know what it takes," Cox said of the rehab.
Cox has quietly become one of the league's top long snappers. He hasn't had any miscues snapping, despite playing in poor weather, and is often praised by Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker, who says the flawless execution before his kicks plays a large part in his success.
Tucker, punter/holder Sam Koch and Cox are all very close and have named themselves the "Wolfpack."
"That's never going to change, no matter what," Tucker said of the Wolfpack's bond.
"If anybody can handle it, it's Morgan. Morgan has done this before. Who knows, he could come back a stronger man than before."
For now, however, the Ravens will have to deal with the effects of a new long snapper. The group works hard at perfecting every step of the process, and has the timing down to milliseconds.
"We've developed a rhythm that's really, really good," Tucker said. "We feel like we're hitting the ball as well as we can. It's tough to develop that rhythm and it takes a lot of time, a lot of practice and a lot of continuity with the three components.
"At the same time, I know whoever will fill that role for us going ahead, they will be taught the Raven way and taught the Wolfpack way."