Baltimore Ravens Roster Cuts and IR Assignments

<p>8/25/03 2:15PM EST. Remember where on the web you read this first. </p> <p>OWINGS MILLS - The dreaded message of needing to see the coach and to bring along their playbook was imparted over the weekend to several Baltimore Ravens. </p>

Trimming their roster before today's deadline to get down to the league-mandated limit of 65 players, the Ravens released 13 players and assigned four others to injured reserve Monday. 

Baltimore waived linebackers Amon Arnold, Brenden Givan and Nick Stamper, defensive linemen David Nugent and Trey Freeman, receivers Milton Wynn and Hugh Smith, defensive backs Artie Smith and Ray Perryman, kicker J.R. Jenkins, running back Dameon Hunter, center Mike Mabry (a seventh-round pick) and quarterback Matt Lytle. Plus, linebacker Bernardo Harris (broken leg), receiver Javin Hunter (ruptured Achilles' tendon), offensive tackle Tony Pashos (hand) and tight end Trent Smith (broken leg) were placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons. "They look around and some guys that have been working with them, guys they liked, guys that have worked hard, some guys that have looked pretty good, and they're gone," 

Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "So, that really heightens the senses." The maneuvers lessened the crowd in the locker room at the club's training complex. While some hopefuls were relieved to escape the first round of cuts, they remain mindful that this may only be a one-week reprieve. For veteran kicker Wade Richey, who boomed the opening kickoff three yards into the end zone in a 24-3 loss Saturday night to the Washington Redskins, Jenkins' release means he's the kickoff specialist. "When I got to the sideline, coach Billick said, 'Hey, that's what you're here for: to kick it deep,'" Richey said. "I've struggled with direction, but I can get it down there. Still, just because J.R. isn't here anymore doesn't mean he isn't a phone call away." 

The Ravens are currently at 70 players, but have roster exemptions for players who were in NFL Europe along with first-round draft picks Terrell Suggs and Kyle Boller. NFL clubs must get down to 53 players by next Sunday, but can then sign five players to their respective practice squads. That means Baltimore will cut 17 more players. "It's tough, but this is part of the business," undrafted rookie running back Ryan Brewer said. "Obviously, it's a big relief to not be on the list, but you feel for those guys who were sweating out there with us. "I've got to make every day count to be here at this time next week, especially with the position I'm in." 

SURGERY FOR SMITH: Rookie running back Musa Smith underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Monday. The third-round draft pick from Georgia sought a second opinion on a sprained capsule he incurred in a contact drill when training camp opened. "It's time to clean it out and see what's really going on," said Smith, who hasn't played in any preseason contests. Anti-inflammatory medicine and rehabilitation hadn't markedly improved the range of motion or reduced the swelling. "It wasn't getting better," trainer Bill Tessendorf said. 

INJURY UPDATES: Wide receiver Frank Sanders said he's unlikely to play against the New York Giants on Thursday. The starter has been out since dislocating two toes in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills. Sanders' goal remains the same: to return for the season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 7. "My health is almost back," Sanders said. Punter Dave Zastudil said his strained hamstring is nearly 100 percent and he has been cleared by Tessendorf. He wasn't sure if he would play this week, though. "I'm dying to get back out there," Zastudil said. "At the same time, the last thing I want to do is push it too far and hurt it again." Cornerback Alvin Porter (strained groin) said his status for the Giants game is up in the air although he feels much better after sitting out the Redskins game. Rookie defensive end Jarret Johnson (shoulder) is slated to return against the Giants along with tight end John Jones (concussion, strained neck). Cornerback Tom Knight (strained hamstring) remains doubtful.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times

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