Ravens cut Lee, two others

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens cut rookie tight end Xavier Lee, a former starting quarterback at Florida State, along with two other undrafted rookies. The Ravens also cut former Grand Valley State offensive guard Brandon Barnes and Fordham punter Benjamin Dato, who were signed as free agents following the NFL draft.

Lee's release was somewhat surprising considering the Ravens' depth issues at tight end. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder had received some praise from coach John Harbaugh after shifting to the new position and being signed to the roster following a tryout.

Lee had been reluctant to play tight end when he was enrolled at Florida State. When the Seminoles coaching staff suggested he should move there, Lee left school following his junior season to declare for the draft. However, he wasn't picked in the draft or immediately signed afterward.

"I think he was into it a little bit," Harbaugh said of Lee following a minicamp. "He was running routes and catching the ball and he would have a chance athletically to play tight end.

"They were right at Florida State. He could be a heck of a tight end. We've got to talk about it, but he looked pretty good."

For his career at Florida State, Lee passed for 2,322 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for 217 yards and five touchdowns.

Named Mr. Football as a senior at Daytona Beach Seabreeze, Lee started six games at Florida State and was suspended for three others due to academic issues. He was ruled academically ineligible for the Music City Bowl.

In high school, Lee set Florida high school records for passing yards (9,082), touchdown passes (98) and completions (549).

Meanwhile, the Ravens will host defensive tackle Salomon Solano for the season as they participate in the NFL International practice squad program.

Solano, 22, is a native of Tamaulipas, Mexico who spent two years with NFL Europa's Rhein Fire and was on the Detroit Lions' practice squad last season.

Solano is a former member of the Mexican National football team who registered 15 tackles in his final season in Europe.

At the University of Tamaulipas, Salomon recorded 39 tackles and five sacks in 2005. Under the program, which was launched four years ago, 16 players from seven different countries will be on NFL practice squads this season.

In 2006, offensive tackle Sam Gutekunst (Germany) was on the Ravens' practice squad.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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