"It was an opportunity for us to go to the Super Bowl," he finally says to the mass of reporters swelling around him. "And I let it go."

Cundiff is also contrite, saying, "There's really no excuse for it."

Harbaugh says he wants to get back to the same spot a year later. He says it will be hard. Even he can't possibly guess how many turns the road will take.

April 28, 2012

This is supposed to be a happy day — the conclusion of the NFL draft, every team's chance to restock its shelves. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is an acknowledged master of the process, but what Newsome can't know is that 2,000 miles away in Arizona, a hole has opened in his roster that cannot be filled with any college player.

Suggs, coming off a career-best season of 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles, tears his right Achilles tendon. An ESPN report says he did it playing basketball. Suggs says he did it while shuffling between cones in preparation for conditioning tests at Ravens training camp.

Regardless, a study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says the average recovery time for an NFL player is 11 months. That timeline suggests Suggs' season is in jeopardy. The voluble linebacker says he'll be back in uniform by October or November.

The Ravens' dream of returning to the AFC title game could hardly be off to a worse start. Pass rushers are considered among the most vital commodities in the NFL, and Suggs is by far the Ravens' best. Las Vegas oddsmakers drop the team's chances of winning the Super Bowl from 12-1 to 15-1.

Aug. 27, 2012

Cundiff has said all the right things about bouncing back from his miss against the Patriots. Harbaugh backed him in the wake of the bitter loss, saying he expected Cundiff to be his kicker in 2012.

"It's all about moving forward," the veteran said at a May workout.

And Cundiff has kicked pretty well during the four weeks of training camp. But there's this kid from the University of Texas, Justin Tucker, with the patchy beard of a philosophy major and a confidence that quickly captivates Ravens veterans and coaches. Every time Cundiff makes a long field goal, Tucker wants to jump up and nail an even longer one.

The supposed narrative entering camp was that Tucker had been brought in to give Cundiff a little nudge. But that's not what Harbaugh told the undrafted free agent. Tucker believes it's a straight-up competition, that if he kicks better, the job will be his.

Three weeks ago, Cundiff said Tucker had "livened things up a little bit." Today, he finds out just how much when the Ravens cut him less than two years after he represented the franchise in the Pro Bowl.

Even if the Ravens get their shot at playoff redemption against the Patriots, Cundiff will not get his.

After Harbaugh calls Tucker over to give him the news, the rookie feels "accomplished but completely unaccomplsihed, all at the same time."

Sept. 23, 2012

Torrey Smith answers the phone in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the voice on the other end says the unthinkable: His 19-year-old brother, Tevin Jones, has crashed his motorcycle into a utility pole in Virginia.

"I can't believe my little brother is gone," Smith writes on his Twitter account.

No one would blame the second-year receiver if tonight's game against the Patriots were the furthest thing from his mind. But he arrives at M&T Bank Stadium to be with his teammates a few hours before kickoff.