It's cut-down dayin Baltimore, and that's no fun. Certainly not for the players being giventheir walking papers, and not for coaches, either.
Billy Cundiff wassent packing on Sunday, perhaps the biggest Ravens name that will hit thewaiver wire this week. More cuts followed -- eight on Sunday -- and there mustbe more on Monday as the Ravens trim a 90-man training camp roster down to 75by 4 p.m. on Monday.The realbloodbath takes place later this week; the Ravens have to cut down to theirfinal 53-man squad by Friday afternoon.
Orioles Hall ofFame manager Earl Weaver once said of cutting players, "You're the one whotells them all the worst news of their life."Such is theplight for Ravens coach John Harbaugh this week, who will sit down with severalplayers and tell them their time as a Raven -- and perhaps their NFL dreamaltogether -- is over.
Harbaugh's media statement on Sunday suggests he was genuinely pained with the decision to release Cundiff, a likeable guy and the Ravens former All-Pro kicker who was beaten out for his job by rookie Justin Tucker.
"These decisions are never easy, and this one was difficult for all of us," he said.
Harbaugh said onSaturday that there are harder days as a coach than cut-down day, but,"Thats right up there. No doubt. You have guys that have given so much,have worked so hard, who have helped make us, in the end, who we become as afootball team, who dont get a chance to go on with the team. ...
"Sitting down with those guys face-to-faceis very challenging, because you develop a relationship with them, and youreally care about them and they care about the program."But in the NFL,there isn't a lot of room for sentiment when it comes to the cold calculus of a53-man roster. There simple isn't room for the eighth-best receiver, or for thefifth-best tight end, no matter how much sweat equity they've put into theprogram. In the end, the math has to add up to 53, and all others are shown thedoor. Thanks fortrying, son, now hand in your playbook.
"Everybodydeals with it differently," Harbaugh said. "Some guys are mad, someguys are sad. Its all different; every single guy faces it in a different way.They are all good guys, and that probably makes it that much tougher."