Brytus Moves On To Baltimore

The Baltimore area usually isn't hospitable to Steelers' fans, but it's always been like a second home for Dave Brytus.

Now that he was signed to a free-agent contract by the Ravens, Dave Brytus hopes to make a permanent residence there.

"I'm excited to go to Baltimore, and it sounds like a good opportunity for me,'' the former Pittsburgh punter said. "I really like the area. It's beautiful.

"And I've been down there so often, since I have family in the area, I know it very well. My mom's sister and some others relatives in Eastern Virginia about 45 minutes away. So, they're not too far.''

Through nearly two days of the NFL Draft, Brytus was unsure where he would continue his football career. His hometown Steelers drafted a punter two years earlier, so that wasn't an option. And the draft was winding down with Cincinnati All-America punter Kevin Huber taken in the fifth round by his hometown Bengals.

"I talked with Jacksonville and Indianapolis earlier in the week, but Baltimore ended up calling me at the beginning of the seventh (final) round,'' Brytus said. "Their special teams coach called me and asked if I wanted to sign with them.

"I told them I wanted to sign, and they faxed me a contract. They didn't have any more draft picks, but they signed me to a free-agent contract. So, it worked out pretty well. I'll still get a shot to make the team.''

The Ravens signed punter Sam Koch to a restricted free-agent tender offer, a second-round tender, before the draft. He was a sixth-round pick by the Ravens from the 2006 draft and will make $1.545 million in base salary this season. He's going into his fourth NFL season.

Had another team signed Koch to an offer sheet and the Ravens declined to match it, they would have received a second-round pick in this year's draft back as compensation. Now, Koch and Brytus will compete. The Ravens don't have a mini-camp for rookies until next week.

"They're bringing me in to compete with their guy, so it's a great opportunity for me,'' Brytus said. "Since I'm able to kick off, that's a big advantage for me. So, my goal is just to go there and compete, learn as much as I can and do the best that I can. And we'll see what happens after that.''

Brytus believed that experience kicking in cold weather and being left-footed were advantages as well.

"Kickers from the South, they don't really know how to kick up here once it really gets cold,'' Brytus said. "That's where we have an advantage, guys who have kicked in cold weather like I did at Pitt. So, maybe that will help me out, too. We'll see what happens, but I'm just happy to get a shot.

"It also helps that I'm left-footed. When you have a left-footed punter, the ball spins a little differently, and some guys might have problems catching it. It's just another thing that could work in my favor, and I'll take all the help I can get. There aren't a lot of us out there, but there are a few lefties.''

Brytus will attempt to add to that total in the NFL after playing collegiately at Purdue and Pitt.

"I've come a long way since high school, I'll tell you that,'' Brytus said. "I got an opportunity to play in the Big Ten, and I really enjoyed that. It didn't work out for me in the end, but there were some good teams. And I met a lot of good people. Then, I got an opportunity to go to Pitt, my hometown team.

"And I've always been a huge Pitt fan. It wasn't a good fit for me out of high school, with Adam Graessle being there, but it was truly a blessing that I was able to come back home. I worked with some great coaches and developed some great relationships. Now, this is another chapter for me in Baltimore.''

And one that Brytus hopes isn't brief.

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