Stills, Prude among Ravens' cuts

OWINGS MILLS -- In the final major round of roster cuts Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens waived 19 players as they parted ways with former Pro Bowl special-teams ace Gary Stills, recently-signed quarterback Casey Bramlet, cornerback Ronnie Prude and offensive tackle Chad Slaughter.

The Ravens also placed cornerback David Pittman and running back Cory Ross on injured reserve with foot and ankle injuries, respectively, ending their seasons.

With cornerback Derrick Martin suspended one game for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and cornerback Fabian Washington already suspended for one game for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy, the Ravens will be without both players for the season-opener Sept. 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"With the two suspended players, that gives us 52 players on the current roster," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We will add another player before the opener against the Bengals."

Will that prospective new player be a quarterback or a cornerback?

Two potential cornerback targets, R.W. McQuarters and Sam Madison, were retained by the New York Giants.

Meanwhile, quarterback Troy Smith was hospitalized recently with a tonsil infection and Kyle Boller is sidelined indefinitely with a throwing shoulder injury believed to be a slightly torn labrum.

Boller has told teammates he expects to be eventually be ruled out for the season, but he hasn't been placed on injured reserve or scheduled for surgery yet as he undergoes more tests on his damaged right shoulder. With Bramlet cut, rookie Joe Flacco is the lone healthy quarterback.

The Ravens are expected to explore the quarterback market and are rumored to have interest in Chris Simms, who got his wish when he was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Simms, 28, had asked to be traded or released during the offseason. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 155 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in three preseason games.

Other potential suitors for Simms include the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. As an unrestricted free agent, Simms is not subject to the waiver system and is free to sign with any team.

His agent, Tom Condon, didn't return an e-mail seeking comment.

Other quarterbacks cut Saturday: Joey Harrington, Brooks Bollinger, Quinn Gray and Jared Lorenzen.

Stills was the biggest name on the Ravens' cut list.

A Pro Bowl selection in 2003, he set an NFL record with 44 special-teams tackles in 2006 and recorded 26 stops last season.

However, the addition of two-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo to a $4.9 million free agent contract and aggressive rookie linebackers Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden ultimately rendered Stills obsolete.

"This team has appreciated Gary Stills the last two years," Stills said prior to being released. "If they appreciate Gary Stills another year, great. If they don't, I'm still fine. I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to come play in this program.

"The cost of playing football is going through things like this, where your livelihood is on the line. Whatever decision they make, I know that I gave it everything I had. That's how you can live with yourself and look yourself in the mirror."

Out of the NFL last season after being cut by the Oakland Raiders, Slaughter was signed by the Ravens on July 30 after starting offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry sprained their ankles. He started three preseason games at left tackle, but became expendable when Gaither recovered from a high-ankle sprain to start a 10-9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Prude made the team two years ago as an undrafted free agent. The team opted to keep five cornerbacks, including Martin after a strong preseason, in addition to starters Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle and reserves Corey Ivy, Frank Walker and Anwar Phillips.

A former New Orleans Saints reserve, Phillips was something of a surprise addition after being cut during training camp when the Ravens were thin on running backs and was later re-signed.

Big defensive tackle J'Vonne Parker claimed the sixth and final spot on the defensive line.

"All you can do is pray," Parker said Thursday night. "You just hope you've done enough to prove yourself to the organization."

Tight end Adam Bergen (Lehigh) had a good preseason, but the return of Daniel Wilcox from offseason toe surgery eliminated him from the roster. Plus, the Ravens have the flexibility of tight end Edgar Jones, a converted outside linebacker.

Bramlet was signed Wednesday and completed 7 of 21 passes for 100 yards with two interceptions in relief of Flacco for a 10.1 quarterback rating. He was on the team for just three days.

"They can't promise anything right now," Bramlet said before being cut. "So much is up in the air."

Baltimore cut two rookie seventh-round draft picks: wide receiver Justin Harper (Virginia Tech) and running back Allen Patrick (Oklahoma).

Patrick rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries, catching three passes for 31 yards, but his upright running style was an issue.

The Ravens decided to just keep two pure running backs on the roster in starter Willis McGahee and rookie Ray Rice as well as fullbacks Lorenzo Neal and Le'Ron McClain, who doubles as an effective, 260-pound change-of-pace at tailback.

The Ravens can begin forming an eight-man practice squad at noon today, and Harper is expected to be invited to join. It's believed that Patrick may not be in the plans.

"I gave them everything I had," Patrick said.

Among the other players cut from the roster: offensive linemen Adrien Clarke (Ohio State), Joe Reitz (Western Michigan) and Adam Kraus (Michigan), defensive linemen Lorenzo Williams (Missouri), Amon Gordon (Stanford) and Darrell Campbell (Notre Dame), wide receivers Matt Willis (UCLA), Patrick Carter (Louisville) and Ernie Wheelwright (Minnesota), tight end Keith Heinrich (Sam Houston State), running back Alex Haynes (Central Florida) and linebacker Robert McCune (Louisville).

A former college basketball player, Reitz is expected to be added to the practice squad.

McCune is one of the strongest players on the team in the weight room. Yet, the Ravens are loaded at linebacker with starters Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson as well as reserves Nick Greisen and Gooden, a third-round draft pick from Miami.

NOTE: Rice is now listed at No. 27, Prude's old number, with McClain wearing No. 53, Dan Cody's old number, and Gooden wearing No. 56, Gary Stills' old number. Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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