Indeed, Justin Tucker has range.
The undrafted rookie out of Texas not only won the starting job with the Ravens because of his stronger and more accurate leg but he also comes with a different vibe. He beat out Billy Cundiff, who was a veteran and in the Pro Bowl just two seasons ago.
"I got a chance to celebrate and call everyone in my family and a few of my good friends from school and let them know some good news," Tucker said Monday in his first remarks since winning the job over the weekend. "Right after that you have to put your head down and get right back to work."
One of those people Tucker communicated with was longtime Longhorns coach Mack Brown, who recruited him out of Westlake High School in Austin. Tucker's versatility stands out.
"I've text his dad a number of times and I text back and forth with Justin. We're really proud of him and know he'll do a great job for the Ravens," Brown told CSNBaltimore on Monday. "He's smart. Very smart. He's full of spirit and energy. He can rap and he can sing opera. That tells you the range of personality he has."
Really, Tucker does. He was a music recording technology major and auditioned to get accepted into his major by performing opera. He rapped with his Longhorn teammates.
More importantly, Tucker can kick. He not only was more accurate than Cundiff throughout training camp but he had the stronger leg. In last week's game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tucker nailed a 53-yarder with plenty of room to spare.
"He's in great shape. He was an outstanding receiver and defensive back at Westlake High School on top of being a kicker so he's a very good athlete. He never missed a critical kick for us," Brown said of Tucker, who made 40 of 48 field goals (83.3) for Texas and never missed a fourth-quarter field goal. "When it got down to a tough kick he always made them. At the same time we had him punting, he can regular punt, he can rugby punt. We had him kicking off and we had him doing field goals and extra points. We really wore him out."
Speaking earlier in the day, Tucker maintains he has never dealt with adversity as a kicker, which seems inevitable in the NFL and especially the AFC North with outdoor winter conditions in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
"I've never really had any major lows, or at least I wouldn't tell myself that I'd had any," Tucker said. "Just keep it simple and take one kick at a time. That's all you can do."
The first part of his comment mirrored what Brown said: "He's so confident if he had a rough spot he wouldn't think that. He'd work himself through it. He's a very tough guy mentally."
And what about the pressure? Cundiff cracked under it when he missed 32-yarder that would've sent last season's AFC Championship Game vs. the New England Patriots. Harbaugh said that wasn't a factor in choosing Tucker instead.
"We brought Billy back. If it had been, he wouldn't have been back," Harbaugh said. "We had confidence. Billy kicked well. Billy could very easily be the kicker here."
Brown is not concerned about Tucker under pressure. Tucker hit a 40-yarder as the clock expired in the final game of a long-held rivalry.
"The media here is like a pro media. We're considered like the pro team, from a media standpoint and exposure standpoint. We're like an NFL team in Austin," Brown said. "He kicked a last-second field goal to beat A&M in the last game of the rivalry at their place in front of 86,000 Aggies. It doesn't get much bigger than that if you're really looking at the pressure. He's more than prepared."