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Billy Bajema living life on the cutting edge

10/10/2013

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Billy Bajema is the Baltimore Ravens' blocking tight end, but he's known to fans as the guy who gets cut and re-signed all the time.

Bajema is the last man on or off the team's 53-man roster, depending on the day of the week. It's only Week 6 of the regular season, and Bajema has been cut three times and re-signed three times.

He was added back to the Ravens on Thursday, just two days after he was released.

"Vonta [Leach] says I've got the best job in the NFL, missing practice and coming back and playing," Bajema said. "But really, you want to be here and it's frustrating to not be. It's good to be back."

Let's take a look at Bajema's winding road this year:

Aug. 31: Cut in the team's final major cutdown before the regular season.

Sept. 4: Re-signed on the first day the Ravens could put tight end Dennis Pitta on the injured reserve-designated for return list. He plays the next day in Denver.

Oct. 3: Cut when the Ravens acquire offensive tackle Eugene Monroe in a trade.

Oct. 5: Re-signed a day before the game at Miami and wide receiver Brandon Stokley gets released because he can't play with a groin injury.

Oct. 8: Cut when the Ravens bring back Stokley.

Oct. 10: Re-signed after the Ravens waive running back Shaun Draughn, who was signed when the team had injury concerns in the backfield.

Dizzy? Just think how Bajema feels.

"It makes you realize how much you want to be here and want to be part of the team," said Bajema, a nine-year veteran who is in his second season with the Ravens. "Staying at home for a couple of days isn't all it's cracked up to me. You're more appreciative of being here and having the opportunity to play each time I come back."

When Bajema gets cut, it's usually with the assurance that the Ravens are bringing him back. He stays at his nearby apartment, and most of the time he even keeps the playbook.

Bajema isn't alone when it comes to this swingman-type role on the roster. Ross Ventrone was involved in 29 roster moves in his three years with the New England Patriots, including 21 in 2011.

Despite being let go so many times, he's played in every game, although many might not know it. Bajema's name isn't called too often. He has one catch this season and hasn't committed a penalty. His role is to block, which often goes unnoticed.

"The good thing about this year is I've played in every game," Bajema said. "As long as that happens, it's a little easier to deal with. If you missed games, it would be tougher."

Last week, Bajema was released after Wednesday's practice. He got the call Friday to be at the Ravens facility on Saturday morning, when he re-signed with the team and participated in the walk-through. The next day, he played 13 snaps in the Ravens' win over the Dolphins.

"I'm grateful to be back and excited to get that call and know you're ready to go," Bajema said. "It's kind of like, 'here we go again and let's go and play.'"