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Gaither a possibility in Ravens' roster trimming

A lot of people are wondering which Ravens will be the odd men out when Ed Reed and Brendon Ayanbadejo return from the PUP -- and if the Ravens bring in Shawne Merriman -- but I don't feel right singling out a pair of players for pink slips. I think the candidates are obvious, though.

One is offensive tackle Jared Gaither, who has a back injury and has practiced just once since early August. "I asked him how he's feeling and he said it was unchanged," coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "That's going to be part of the equation [when Reed and Ayanbadejo return]."

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But even if patience with the enigmatic big man has worn thin, he is too important to the Ravens' title hopes for them to place him on injured reserve before they absolutely must. They have to wait it out.

One would think that Ken Hamlin will have some sleepless nights this week. The Ravens signed him before training camp as insurance for Reed, and they already released him once this season. Dawan Landry, Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura aren't going anywhere, so I'll be surprised if the Ravens hang on to Hamlin when Reed is healthy enough to play.

Prescott Burgess or Edgar Jones, two linebackers who earn their paychecks with their work on special teams, could be on the outs when Ayanbadejo returns.

Those guys seem to make the most sense, but there are other possibilities.

Offensive tackle Scott Kooistra, signed two weeks ago, was inactive against the Broncos and Patriots. For what it's worth, he isn't even listed on the depth chart on the Ravens' website.

Defensive lineman Lamar Divens has played in two games this season, and rookie Arthur Jones isn't going anywhere, so he's a possibility, too.

Linebacker Jason Phillips was a bubble boy at the end of the preseason, but he should be safe with Tavares Gooden sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Reed and Ayanbadejo have company. Running back Matt Lawrence is eligible to come off the PUP list, too, but I don't see the Ravens releasing someone to make room for him on the 53-man roster. Harbaugh is not happy with Jalen Parmele's recent performance on kickoff returns, but the Ravens are said to like his potential as a running back. With undrafted rookie Curtis Steele on the practice squad, the Ravens might opt to let Lawrence walk.

You tell me: Who do you think will be the odd men out in the Ravens' roster crunch?

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