Ravens Sign Kicker Cundiff

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One week after a tryout in Baltimore, Billy Cundiff watched the Ravens' 16-0 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Briefly leaving the room to attend to a fussy young daughter, he had to be told that Steve Hauschka hooked a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter before he saw a low extra point get blocked by defensive tackle Shaun Rogers.

At that point – Hauschka's miss was his fourth of the season – Cundiff knew there was a chance his phone could ring. It did on Tuesday.

"Finally the phone rang, and within two hours, my bag was packed and I was on my way to the airport," Cundiff said.

"In the NFL, it's a replacement business," Cundiff explained Monday. "No matter where you go, the guy either really well or the guy struggled a little bit. You job doesn't change. You're brought in here to make field goals. If you don't, you're shown the door. I know that my objective is to come out, provide the team with stability, make kicks and help the team win. That's not going to change, regardless of the circumstances that came before me."

Now, Cundiff will have a few days to acclimate himself with head coach John Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg before his newest team takes on the Indianapolis Colts and longtime Ravens kicker Matt Stover.

The Ravens are confident Cundiff can get the job done consistently, something Stover had done throughout his 19-year career and something with which the young Hauschka had struggled all season.

"He's been a talented guy throughout his whole career," said Harbaugh. "So you kind of start with that foundation of talent, that kind of means a lot. He's had success, his career numbers are pretty good. We'll just see how it goes. There's just no way to accurately foresee exactly what's going to happen. But, he's a veteran kicker who has been in these situations before and we think that will help us."

Cundiff, 29, is best known for his four years of service for the Dallas Cowboys from 2002-05, where he played in 53 games. During that span, he connected on 60 of 82 field goals (73.1 percent) with a long of 56 yards.

Since then, Cundiff has spent time with multiple teams.

With a strong leg, Cundiff joined the New Orleans Saints in 2006 as a kickoff specialist. Three of his 29 kickoffs that season went for touchbacks. That leg strength was a major reason why Cundiff was able to beat out former New York Jets draft pick Mike Nugent, whom the Ravens also worked out.

"They were very close," Harbaugh explained. "Probably the kickoff difference. They both have similar stats. They both looked very similar in the workouts, as far as making field goals. They were around 85 percent in the workouts, at least, maybe closer to 90 percent, really, when you start combining the two workouts. But, Billy is probably a little further along in kickoffs."

Since Cundiff's tenure in Dallas ended in an injury settlement in 2005 with a torn quadriceps, he spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions, but did not make any of those clubs' regular-season rosters.

Spending two years essentially out of football, the Drake University alumnus earned his MBA from Arizona State and found employment at an investment banking firm in Phoenix.

"I stayed in shape working out in the mornings, lifting at night and helping out my wife with our daughter," he said. "I've been hoping my chance would eventually come."

That does not mean Cundiff isn't fresh. When Browns kicker Phil Dawson was hindered by a calf injury earlier this year, Cundiff was brought in to kick for five contests.

Spanning from Weeks 3-7, Cundiff converted all six field goal attempts and was 4-of-4 on extra points. Cundiff also nailed an 18-yard game-winning field goal with 23 seconds left against the Buffalo Bills. His longest field goal this season was 31 yards.

Sunday's game will reunite Stover with the city of Baltimore. Stover was not re-signed in the offseason in favor of Hauschka, ending a storied career in which he was the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history (83.7 percent).

Stover was signed by the Colts to spell the incumbent Adam Vinatieri, whose knee injury in Week 6 required surgery, and he has responded by hitting all six of his attempts.

Conversely, Hauschka's 2009 campaign, his first as a full-time kicker, saw him miss four of 13 field goals, including a potential game-winner against the Minnesota Vikings.

Cundiff is not thinking about Baltimore's past, however. He is hoping to be the future.

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