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Ravens notebook: 'Good camp' for rookie kicker Tucker

OWINGS MILLS -- The football fell shy of its mark, a 60-yard boot from rookie kicker Justin Tucker with another try from that distance sailing wide right.

All of his four field goal attempts from inside 50 yards were accurate, though.

The former University of Texas standout connected on a 55-yard field goal during the first day of a rookie minicamp, leaving a good impression overall on Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh after trying out for the past three days.

"He gets really good lift on the ball, very accurate," Harbaugh said. "He had a very good camp."

Tucker is expected to remain with the Ravens and compete with veteran kicker Billy Cundiff during training camp.

"I'd say right now we have who we have, and we'll just play it by ear," Harbaugh said when asked if the team still plans to sign a veteran kicker now that Shayne Graham has joine the Houston Texans. "That's always unpredictable."

Tucker had a private workout for Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg a few days before the NFL draft.

Tucker made 17 of 21 field goals as a senior for the Longhorns after hitting 23 of 27 kicks as a junior.

"I was hitting the ball just as good as I ever have," Tucker said Sunday. "It feel like it was successful

Tucker doubled as a punter at Texas, averaging 40.3 yards per punt.

Last season, Tucker made a 40-yard game-winning field goal to beat archrival Texas A&M.

"Shoot, that's a moment everybody's looking for in sports," Tucker said. "Everybody wants a chance to hit a walk-off home run. To be able to have that opportunity and to be able to come through with it was a blessing altogether."

Now, he's hoping to supplant Cundiff.

"I look forward to it, competing with a guy who's had success," Tucker said. "It'll be fun and it'll be a challenge. You have to be mentally strong. You have to be able to come into a situation and be ready to perform.

"It doesn't matter if you're a rookie, it doesn't matter if you've been playing football for 15 years. I feel I have the mindset to step out on the field and basically do my job."

LEARNING FROM LEWIS: Rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter has been working out with Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis ever since being drafted in the sixth round by Baltimore.

When Lewis reached out to the fellow University of Miami football alum during the draft, Streeter was overjoyed.

"I basically told him that I was ready to make that next step and ready to train," Streeter said. "He took it upon himself to extend that invitation. He stays probably 40 minutes away from me in Miami. He just invited me to come over, work out and you know I accepted it and we've been on a roll ever since."

It hasn't been easy matching Lewis' legendary work ethic.

"Oh, it's been tough," Streeter said. "He pushes his body to the limit. It's no surprise that he plays the way he plays on game day and why he's been playing so long in the NFL."

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder is an intriguing prospect for the Ravens because he's so tall and fast with 4.40 speed in the 40-yard dash.

It was was obvious that he needs to gain some polish to his routes as he wasn't especially sharp out of his breaks, but Streeter could emerge as a red-zone target and deep threat.

"That's what I thrive at," said Streeter, who was hampered by a stomach virus and was in and out of practice Sunday. "I feel I create a mismatch down there on jump-ball situations. It's rare that you find a guy who can run the way I can.

"I feel like you don't always have to run the ball down there. It's okay to throw a fade. I'm hoping they incorporate that in the game plan."

Streeter finished his career with 52 receptions for 967 yards and nine touchdowns, but almost all of that production was produced as a junior for new coach Al Golden.

Streeter was projected to go much higher in the draft, initially rated as a second-round or third-round target by draft analysts.

"I'm extremely hungry," Streeter said. "I kind of feel like people didn't believe in me even though I believed in myself. I thank God that the coaches believed in me and gave me this opportunity.

"Ever since I got that phone call on draft day, I had the mindset that I was willing to work. I'm ready for whoever lines up across from me."

The Ravens are happy to have Streeter on their roster.

"First impression, he's really tall," Harbaugh said. "Second impression, he's really fast. Third impression, he's going to be a good player."

QUICK HITS: Rookie running back Bernard Pierce was impressed with second-round offensive guard Kelechi Osemele and fourth-round center-guard Gino Gradkowski. "They're good, they're fast surprisingly," said Pierce, the Ravens' third-round pick from Temple. " I watched them pull for me during practice and they actually got out in front of me a little bit. That's good. That's always a plus, always a plus." ... Rookie wide receiver Deonte Thompson, an undrafted free agent from the University of Florida who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.23 seconds, had a good practice, flashing speed and catching the ball fairly well. Harbaugh was impressed in general with how the rookies performed. "The biggest takeaway probably is that this is a good group," he said. "This is a really good group of rookies. We like these guys. We've got some talented guys here. There will be a couple undrafted guys that have a shot to make the team. I wouldn't bet against it. I think all the draft picks look really good." ... The Ravens brought in several players for tryouts, including wide receiver Rashad Carter,wide receiver Anthony Green, tight end Matt Balasavage, tight end Bruce Figgins, defensive lineman Patrick Moran, linebackers Nigel Carter, Eric McBride and Tony Johnson. In particular, Balasavage had a strong tryout. ... Among the players from last year's practice squad that participated in the minicamp: running back Damien Berry and kick returner Phillip Livas. ... Doug O'Neill, the trainer of Kentucky Derby winning horse I'll Have Another, attended the minicamp. "This is one of the perks of winning the Kentucky Derby, being able to hang out here at the beautiful Baltimore camp and meet the coach," O'Neill said. "We're living up Baltimore. I love pro football, and we're all in awe of the way a practice runs here, how professional everything is. Everyone is constantly moving."

Reach staff writer Aaron Wilson at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

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