Notebook: Stover delivers in clutch again

WESTMINSTER -- The football sailed between the uprights, another patented boot in the clutch from Baltimore Ravens veteran kicker Matt Stover. The 48-yard field goal Tuesday morning set off a raucous celebration as Stover is once again the most popular player in the locker room. The 40-year-old earned the team a rare afternoon off from practice as well as being excused from night meetings.

"I'm telling you, that ball was moving left outside the uprights," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I was going to get what I wanted: practice this afternoon. But somebody bumped it back in.

"The magic of Matt Stover, I guess. He's proven over a long period of time that he's one of the premier kickers in the history of the game."

Afterward, Stover was swarmed by his teammates. They chanted his name prior to the money kick.

"John knows how to put pressure on a guy," Stover said. "You've got to be able to put yourself in those situations as a kicker.

"There's nothing that can replicate that other than a game, and that's as close as you can get. In fact, I think that was worse than kicking a game-winner because you don't want to let your guys down."

Added linebacker Bart Scott: "Stover is the man, but, if he had missed it, he would have been the most vilified guy on the team."

In 19 seasons, Stover ranks second in NFL history with an 83.8 percent success rate.

Back when the Ravens were the Cleveland Browns, Stover was issued a similar challenge from coach Bill Belichick.

"He would back me up to, like, 60 yards," Stover said. "He would make it really impossible for me to make. .. Did you see the defense? They weren't rushing very hard, were they? I knew I had all kinds of time."

INJURY REPORT: Running back Willis McGahee's arthroscopic left knee surgery was successful, according to Harbaugh.

"They cleaned it up," he said. "It was less than what we thought it was, and it's getting healthy."

Cornerback Samari Rolle stopped practicing about halfway through, applying an ice bag to his hamstring.

"I hope it's just a bruise," Rolle said.

Cornerback Derrick Martin didn't make it through practice, leaving for treatment for an undisclosed injury.

Also not practicing: cornerbacks Chris McAlister (swollen right knee), Fabian Wa shington (neck spasms) and David Pittman (foot), linebackers Dan Cody (right foot), Robert McCune (right leg), Gary Stills (knee), Tavares Gooden (hip) and Terrell Suggs (contract dispute), offensive tackles Jared Gaither (sprained right ankle) and Adam Terry (sprained left ankle), tight ends Todd Heap (right calf) and Aaron Walker (left knee) defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (sprained right knee) and Kelly Talavou (sprained shoulder), nose guard Kelly Gregg (arthroscopic left knee surgery) and wide receivers Demetrius Williams (left Achilles' tendon) and Patrick Carter (dislocated left shoulder)

Talavou's injury may require surgery. Washington's prognosis is unclear.

Ngata was in full pads for the first time since July 27, performing individual drills and hitting the blocking sled.

Meanwhile, Heap said he's improving.

"I just want to make sure I get it right before I get back into action," he said. "It's getting better."

Linebacker Antwan Barnes is wearing a protective brace on his forearm, but continues to practice.

"I ran into Ray Lewis, and he's made of steel," he said.

ROSTER MOVES: Besides signing four-time Pro Bowl fullback Lorenzo Neal, the team signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Keith Weinrich. Tight end Lee Vickers was cut.

Two players assigned to injured reserve Monday, linebacker Prescott Burgess (broken left wrist) and running back P.J. Daniels (separated shoulder) were placed on the waived-injured list. As non-vested veterans, they could be20placed on injured reserve if they clear waivers.

EXCUSED: Wide receiver Yamon Figurs has been absent from camp since Sunday while celebrating the birth of his child. He's expected to play Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings.

QUICK HITS: Mike Kracalik worked ahead of Chad Slaughter at left tackle on the first-team offense with Oniel Cousins playing right tackle. ... The second-string offense finally punched it into the end zone with a touchdown from rookie running back Allen Patrick during a goal-line drill after being stymied initially by the first-string defense. "It was a competitive drill," Patrick said. "We take big pride in that, and this was a physical day. They shut us down at first, but we eventually got in there. We know what we need to build on." ... There was a brief shoving match between offensive guard Ben Grubbs and linebacker Jarret Johnson and a short exchange between wide receiver Marcus Smith and cornerback Corey Ivy. ... Stover converted three of four field goals, hitting kicks from 31, 41 and 48 yards. He missed a 53-yarder. Piotr Czech made kicks from 31, 41 and 53 yards, but a 48-yard try ricocheted off the right upright. ... Former Ravens fullback Justin Green, who was cut Monday, was signed by the New York Jets.

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

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