Quick Links

Cundiff hoping for another playoff shot

Cundiff hoping for another playoff shot

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) There's no questioning how badly Billy Cundiff wants another chance in the playoffs after the way last season ended.

Cundiff and the Baltimore Ravens stayed home after he missed a potential tying 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the AFC championship game and New England went to the Super Bowl last season instead.

These days, Cundiff has no qualms discussing his greatest career disappointment. He hopes to soon make a new impression on the NFL's postseason - succeeding as San Francisco's starting kicker.

``You don't have to tiptoe around this. Ask what you want to ask,'' Cundiff instructed while standing at his locker before Tuesday's practice.

While coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to name Cundiff or incumbent David Akers the top guy for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against Green Bay, Cundiff is preparing as if he will play.

Cundiff took a field trip Monday to Candlestick Park to practice in the elements off San Francisco Bay, though there was hardly any wind during his hour-long session alongside holder Andy Lee and long snapper Brian Jennings - with the supervision of special teams coach Brad Seely.

Cundiff attempted between 30 and 40 field goals and also launched some kickoffs. Come Saturday, a sellout crowd will pack the place as San Francisco (11-4-1) tries to take a step toward reaching its first Super Bowl since after the 1994 season.

``It was a fairly calm day from what I understand, and I was told not to get too used to that,'' Cundiff said. ``The conditions were pretty nice. I think (I adjusted) the best that I can after one day. Guys get used to stadiums after playing there for many years so I think I know it as well as I can with what the current situation is. ... We're trying to cram in what you would do in the offseason - April, May, June, you get a little bit of July off and then most of August - so you're taking four months and squeezing it into about three days.''

Last summer, Cundiff figured he would get another chance to change his fortunes this season with the Ravens, but they parted ways with him Aug. 26 before Cundiff landed in nearby Washington.

The Redskins then released him on Oct. 9 after he missed five of his 12 field goal attempts.

Three months later and across the country, Cundiff is playing for John Harbaugh's little brother, Jim - perhaps finally poised to get that shot for another Harbaugh. San Francisco signed him Jan. 1 after Akers struggled once again during a 27-13 victory in the regular-season finale against Arizona.

The 32-year-old Cundiff realizes joining a new team at this late stage is a ``unique'' circumstance, but he knows he will fit in as long as he goes about his business and does his job when called upon.

``You're only as much of an outsider as you allow yourself to feel,'' Cundiff said. ``For me, I feel like it's the ultimate compliment that a team that's playing in the playoffs would use a roster spot on a guy like myself. They obviously have a lot of confidence in my abilities or they wouldn't have brought me in here. I feel like that is the ultimate compliment, so I'm going to take that confidence out on the field and not really worry about the rest.''

Harbaugh has said there is a ``leader in the clubhouse,'' but hasn't said who it is. He probably won't until he absolutely has to, either, to keep the Packers guessing.

Cundiff has moved forward from how last season ended, knowing John Harbaugh trusted him to bounce back. Probably not in this very situation, however."Maybe that was a compliment that in the fact that he didn't feel like he had to talk me off the ledge or console me,'' Cundiff said. ``I was obviously disappointed, and if I wasn't disappointed I think he would have bigger concerns. But at the same time I think he knew I would pick myself up. I've been through a lot in my career and I've dealt with some strange situations, and this is maybe just another one of them. I feel the way that I approach things, I think people know that I can handle it. Maybe that's why I keep getting thrown into the fire.''

Notes: San Francisco signed LB Nate Stupar to the practice squad. ... LB Aldon Smith (shoulder) practiced in a non-contact black jersey, along with CB Tarell Brown (shoulder, knee).

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Ben Roethlisberger to mull the idea of retirement this off-season

Ben Roethlisberger to mull the idea of retirement this off-season

Don’t expect the Ravens to hold their breath, waiting for Ben Roethlisberger to announce his retirement.

The Steelers’ quarterback wouldn’t commit to playing next season during his weekly appearance on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options, to consider health and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season, all those things,” Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday. “I think that’s - in my point of my career and my age, and that’s the prudent thing to do each year.”

Whenever there is doubt about Roethlisberger’s status, the Ravens always expect him to play. Roethlisberger returned ahead-of-schedule from a knee injury to face the Ravens in November, and before that game, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs correctly predicted that Roethlisberger would play.

“Don’t fall for that,” Suggs said back in November. “I saw this movie before. He’s going to act like, ‘I’m not playing. I don’t know. I did individual today and threw a little bit. I still don’t know.’ Then he’s going to walk his big ass on out there. I’m going to be like, ‘How you doin,’ Benjamin.’’’

Roethlisberger is coming off an emotional loss in the AFC Championship game, he is under contract, and he doesn’t have to rush any decisions. It’s understandable, and wise, that he is thinking about his long-term health at age 34.

But can a competitor like Roethlisberger really walk away at this stage of his career, playing with a Steelers’ team that was one victory from another Super Bowl? That would be difficult to do. So until they hear differently, the Ravens will expect to say “hello” to Roethlisberger again next season.

MORE RAVENS: Mosley to miss Pro Bowl and Jeremy Zuttah to play

Quick Links

C.J. Mosley out of Pro Bowl, but Jeremy Zuttah in to replace Steelers' Pouncey

C.J. Mosley out of Pro Bowl, but Jeremy Zuttah in to replace Steelers' Pouncey

Ravens linebacker C. J. Mosley won’t play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl due to a calf injury suffered in the season-finale against the Bengals. However, the Ravens will be well-presented in the game, especially for a team that went 8-8.

Ravens center Jeremy Zuttah was added to the AFC roster on Monday, replacing center Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers who withdrew. That makes seven Ravens who have been named to the Pro Bowl – Mosley, Zuttah, long snapper Morgan Cox, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, safety Eric Weddle, kicker Justin Tucker, and guard Marshal Yanda, who won’t play due to a shoulder injury.

Mosley has made the Pro Bowl in two of his first three NFL seasons, and figures to be a cornerstone of the Ravens’ defense for years to come. However, the immediate future is not as certain for Juszczyk, who is a free agent, or for Zuttah, who could be a salary cap casualty this offseason. The Ravens would save around $2.4 million in cap space by releasing Zuttah, and they could look to address that position during free agency or the draft.

MORE RAVENS: Taking a CB early in draft may be Ravens best move