Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff said his teammates have been more supportive than he could have ever imagined following his missed 32-yard field goal with just seconds left in a 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
“It’s been impressive. I expected a lot more backlash,” Cundiff said, via Sports Illustrated. “I had a lot of guys that kept telling me, ‘Look, I’ve made mistakes.’ Obviously, everyone sees my mistakes. That’s just the way it goes.”
It was smart that the Ravens didn’t cut Cundiff right away after that heartbreaking miss. That would have been nothing more than a clear impulse move considering Cundiff is just a year removed from being named an All-Pro.
That being said, it’s hard to imagine the Ravens going all in with Cundiff as their kicker to begin the 2012 regular season. The 31-year-old struggled on the road last season, connecting on just 13-for-23.
Cundiff will be under a tremendous amount of pressure next season, and the Ravens have to find out whether he can handle that type of pressure by bringing in competition this year. Whoever the team decides to bring in, Cundiff will have to beat them out and earn the right to kick for Baltimore.
The Ravens signed Cundiff to a lucrative five-year, $14.7 million contract following the 2010 season. But Baltimore only gave Cundiff $3 million as a signing bonus, so the team can cut him without taking a stiff hit against the salary-cap.