UPDATED 2:44 PM
The Ravens have released veteran kicker Billy Cundiff, deciding instead to go with rookie free agent Justin Tucker.
Cundiff was released Sunday as part of the first wave of training camp cuts to get the roster down to 75 players.
"These decisions are never easy, and this one was difficult for all of us – Ozzie (Newsome), Jerry (Rosburg) and me," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Of course, that says something about Justin, the way he has kicked and our belief in him."
Cundiff's departure ends a three-year run with the Ravens, which included a Pro Bowl selection in 2010. Despite being an All-Pro kicker during his time in Baltimore, Cundiff's legacy will be clouded with the memory of missing a 32-yard, game-tying field goal in last year's AFC championship loss to New England.
The Ravens stood by Cundiff after that miss in New England and he came into training camp as the favorite for the kicking job. He bounced back from the miss and was off to a strong start during camp.
"Billy had a great camp, the best he has had with us," Harbaugh said. "He showed, like he always has, a toughness and an ability to come back and be a top flight NFL kicker."
Cundiff was ultimately unseated by Tucker's impressive performance throughout the offseason and into training camp. Neither player has missed a kick during the preseason, but Tucker has been more consistent during practice, especially from long range.
The rookie also made a strong case for the starting job in last week's preseason win over Jacksonville where the Ravens had him handle all of the kicking duties. Tucker hit field goals of 33 and 53 yards, and after the game Cundiff said he was shocked and disappointed by the decision to give Tucker all of the work.
Cundiff also said that his track record speaks for itself, and that "If that's not good enough, I'll take my services elsewhere to be perfectly honest." By releasing Cundiff before the 53-man cuts, he has more time to sign with another team.
"Billy was ready in every way to be our kicker," Haraugh said. "He'll kick in the NFL. He's a very good kicker and an even better person."