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Shiancoe release could open door for undrafted rookie Furstenburg to make Ravens roster

OWINGS MILLS - It's looking more and more like undrafted rookie tight end Matt Furstenburg has played himself into a roster spot with the Ravens.
It's possible Baltimore could choose to keep veteran Billy Bajema instead, but Visanthe Shiancoe being released very much increases the likelihood that the Ravens will keep Furstenburg as their third tight end behind starter Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark.
Furstenburg, who played collegiately at Maryland, struggled some during the spring, but has made noticeable progress this summer.
"Matt has done well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's in the hunt."
Furstenburg only had 16 catches as a senior at Maryland last season as the Terrapins dealt with multiple injuries at quarterback, but he was one of the top performers among tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and he has made several big plays as a pass-catcher this summer, both during training camp and the preseason.
Furstenburg has four catches for 54 yards through Baltimore's first three preseason games. One of the catches was a highlight-reel-type grab for a 24-yard gain during the Ravens' preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Furstenburg has also received positive feedback this summer for how he's fared as a blocker.
"I think Furstenburg's done a great job," Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said recently.
Smith played with Furstenburg at Maryland in 2009 and 2010.
"He's getting better and better," Smith said. "He's getting more comfortable, and he's not doing anything different than what I already knew he could do. Obviously that situation was tough quarterback-wise at Maryland last year, so not many people know what he can do, but he has great hands and he's doing a great job."
But Thursday's preseason finale will be a big opportunity for Furstenburg to further make his case for a roster spot since he'll likely see a sizeable amount of playing time with Dickson unlikely to play and Clark's workload likely to be limited.
"He'll get a chance Thursday night to try to make an even stronger case," Harbaugh said, "but he's done well."

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