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Tucker sets new career high, not in a good way

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Tucker sets new career high, not in a good way

OWINGS MILLS -- After missing two field goal attempts Sunday, then making the game-winner as time expired, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is determined to be more consistent during the final six games.

With their offense ravaged by injuries, the Ravens can’t afford to leave points on the table. Tucker has been one of the NFL’s best kickers, especially in clutch situations. However, with 1:18 left in Sunday’s game, Tucker missed a 51-yarder that would have broken a 13-13 tie. He had already missed from 51 yards in the first quarter.

Tucker redeemed himself quickly. After linebacker Courtney Upshaw’s strip sack got the ball back for Baltimore, Tucker booted a 47-yard game-winner to cap a 16-13 victory. But afterward in the locker room, Tucker had mixed emotions.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this upset or mad after hitting a game-winner, but this is kind of unchartered territory for me,” Tucker said. “To be able to bounce back like that though, it’s definitely satisfying.”

Conditions were windy at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, but Tucker may face challenging conditions again Monday night when the Ravens visit the Browns. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who was a special teams coach for years with the Eagles, has noticed a difference in Tucker’s mechanics at times this season. Tucker has made 22 of 28 field goal attempts, but the six misses are a season-high for his four-year career.

“To my eye, and I shared this with Justin, it’s his swing,” Harbaugh said. “When he swings the way he’s supposed to, when he swings the way he’s capable of -- the fundamentally correct way to do it as he does in practice 99 times out of 100 -- he hits a straight ball. When he doesn’t swing the right way for whatever reason, you’d have to ask him what happens.

“There’s a lot to it. There’s the hold, the snap, the whole thing goes together. There’s the wind. There’s the footing. All those things are a factor, no question, but the swing mechanics are the main thing.”

The Ravens will need a smooth swing from Tucker the rest of the way. Close games seem to be the only kind of games the Ravens play this season.

MORE RAVENS: Torn MCL and ACL confirmed for Flacco, as Harbaugh hopes for return by camp

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Ravens' Hayden Hurst hopes his story helps end stigma surrounding mental health

Ravens' Hayden Hurst hopes his story helps end stigma surrounding mental health

Hayden Hurst broke his silence on his struggles with depression and anxiety back in November following a documentary detailing how it affected his baseball career. The Baltimore tight end opened up even more about his experiences in an interview with First Coast News' Chris Porter and talked about his desire to end the stigma surrounding mental health. 

“I want to use my platform to help people,” he said. “For some reason, people equate mental illness with having to be ashamed. It’s something you shouldn’t talk about. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. Everybody goes through something. The best thing my parents ever did was just being available. There’s not really a right or wrong thing you can say or an answer that can change everything but just making sure you’re available and you’re understanding. If my story is going to change the narrative on this and people are going to talk about it more, then so be it.”

Before Hurst was selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Ravens, Hurst explained an unsettling incident in which he cut his own wrists and ended up in the hospital without even knowing it. 

“I woke up in the hospital,” Hurst said. “I didn’t know what happened. I had to have a friend fill me in. Apparently, I had been drinking and went into my apartment and cut my wrist. My friend found me in a puddle of blood. He called 911.”

It was at the moment he was hospitalized where Hurst realized he needed to ask for help. Now he spends his time, when he's not catching passes or blocking for Lamar Jackson, speaking to kids about his experiences and how important it is to ask for help. 

“I don’t have the answers to fix all of this. It’s still a trial and error to this day, but I will say I have much more good days than I do bad days. I’m not this superhero that’s portrayed on TV. I’m a regular person. I struggle with depression, anxiety and things like that.”

Hurst's foundation is hosting a golf tournament next week to help a Youth Crisis Center in Jacksonville, FL. 

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Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after three seasons in Baltimore

Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after three seasons in Baltimore

The Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after he spent three years in Baltimore, the team confirmed Friday.

The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport was first with the news.

“This is the worst part of this business,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement released by the team. “Tony is the consummate teammate and someone who is respected by everyone for his leadership, determination, humility and toughness. He’s a friend to all and a true Raven.

"We know he’s going to beat this injury, and we will be cheering for him all along the way. We wish the very best to Tony and his family.”

 

 

The safety suffered a knee injury against the Steelers in Week 5 and was out for the remainder of the season. He was replaced by Chuck Clark, who shined in his new role and received a three-year contract extension on Monday as a result. 

The Ravens will save $7 million by releasing the 28-year-old safety. He originally had a cap hit of $11.65 million for the 2020 season and will have a dead cap hit of $4.65 million. 

Jefferson started each of the 35 games he played in Baltimore and registered a total of 174 tackles and two interceptions across his three seasons. He played nearly every defensive snap before his injury, only coming off the field during the blowout over the Dolphins in Week 1. 

He spent the first four seasons of his career in Arizona before he left for Baltimore and a four-year, 34 million dollar contract. 

According to overthecap.com, the Ravens will be left with a touch over $31 million in cap space after Jefferson’s release. In an offseason with Matthew Judon as a free agent, Jefferson’s release gives them a little bit more flexibility with their offseason plans. 

The Ravens now have Earl Thomas and Clark as the team’s two top safeties, but there are still questions that persist for the depth at that position with Jordan Richards, who recently signed a one-year contract extension, and DeShon Elliott as the team’s backups currently under contract. Brandon Carr, who played safety down the stretch for the team, has a team option for 2020. 

While the safety position certainly isn’t a need for the Ravens at this juncture, there will almost assuredly need to be some younger talent added to the position. 

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