Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Ravens sign Shayne Graham
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens dipped into the past Wednesday to address an ongoing problem with their kicking game, signing Shayne Graham as a possible replacement for injured Billy Cundiff.
Cundiff has a sore left calf and has struggled this month. He missed a 36-yard field goal Sunday night in a 34-14 loss to San Diego and is 2-for-5 in December.
That prompted the Ravens to add Graham, who worked out with Baltimore last week. Graham has played for six teams, most recently the Miami Dolphins earlier this season.
Graham, 34, was cut in training camp by the Ravens last summer.
"The positive thing about bringing Shayne is that we know him and he knows us," special teams coach Jerry Rosburg said. "He's obviously an NFL-caliber kicker. We knew that when he was here and he's proven that since he's been gone."
Cundiff made the Pro Bowl in 2010 but has missed nine field goals this year and is 1-for-6 beyond 50 yards. Baltimore is chasing the AFC North title, so it's quite possible Graham will be pressed into action Saturday against Cleveland.
"He's a real plus for us because we know we're bringing in a guy that is not only a quality NFL kicker, but has been in the NFL environment and understands playoff-caliber football at the end of the season," Rosburg said. "We expect him to come in here and add that veteran experience."
Cundiff remains on the 53-man roster. Baltimore placed linebacker Chavis Williams (foot) on injured reserve to make room for Graham, an 11-year veteran.
"It's nice to actually come into this locker room," Graham said. "A lot of these guys were in camp when I was here a couple of years ago. A lot of the guys are familiar with me. There's a lot of good guys here, so it's a real smooth transition for me. Having the operation here, the snapper and holder, those guys are phenomenal. So, I couldn't ask to be in a better position or be around a better bunch of guys."
Cundiff did not practice Wednesday and Graham kicked well, but there are still no guarantees Graham will get the call against the Browns.
"We added him to our roster just to make sure we had a kicker," Rosburg said.
"If they call on me, I'll be ready," Graham said. "I really don't know what the expectations are. I hope (Cundiff) gets healthy as soon as he can. All I can control is what I'm asked to do. If I'm asked to go out and play, then I go out and play and play my best to help these guys win. If it's for one week, it's for one week. If it's for two, it's two."
The Ravens don't need uncertainty at kicker with the postseason rapidly approaching, but they couldn't afford to take a wait-and-see approach with Cundiff.
"We're just trying to win a football game this week," Rosburg said. "That's what really important to us."