The Ravens have finally run out of patience with veteran return man Devin Hester Sr.
They waived Hester on Tuesday, a day after his failure to field two punts resulted in the Ravens starting drives on their own 1- and 2-yard line in a 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots. His first mistake set up a Patriots safety early in the game.
The Ravens haven't announced a corresponding roster move for Hester, but they are expected to promote wide receiver/return man Michael Campanaro (River Hill) from the practice squad. It could be one of a few roster moves for the Ravens, who are now thin at cornerback with Jimmy Smith (ankle) and Jerraud Powers (concussion) sidelined.
Campanaro has been returning punts in practice since he was signed to the Ravens practice squad on Nov. 7. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has praised Campanaro's work in practice on several occasions.
Needing a return man, the Ravens signed Hester to a one-year deal just before the start of the regular season. At the time, the move made sense, given that Hester is a four-time Pro Bowl selection who holds the NFL record for return touchdowns with 20 and punt return scores with 14.
However, Hester, 34, failed to make a positive impact, and didn't come close to finding the form that made him one of the best return men in NFL history and a potential Hall of Famer.
He struggled with a groin injury and in recent weeks, it appeared he had lost confidence fielding punts in traffic. Hester regularly allowed punts to bounce rather than catching them, costing the Ravens field position on a weekly basis.
He was solid on kick returns, averaging 24.5 yards which ranks sixth in the NFL. However, he was averaging only 7.2 yards per punt return and he had fumbled five times, losing only one of them. The Ravens rank 26th in the league in punt return average.
The Ravens also on Tuesday placed running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on the practice squad and signed inside linebacker Lamar Louis. Taliaferro was inactive for four consecutive games with a hamstring injury and he played just three games this season, finishing with one carry for no yards.
Louis, an undrafted free agent out of LSU, played one game with the Arizona Cardinals earlier this season before he was released with an injury settlement.