PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
The Matt Stover era in Baltimore officially ended when the Ravens came out of training camp with Steve Hauschka as their kicker.
But now that Stover has signed with the Indianapolis Colts, that fact is even more of a reality for fans of the purple and black. The deal was announced on Tuesday by the team.
Stover fills a spot vacated by Adam Vinatieri, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Vinatieri is expected to miss four to eight weeks after injuring his knee in last Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans.
Stover recently tried out for the New York Giants, and he declined an offer to join the Cleveland Browns.
Entering his 20th season, Stover is one of the NFL’s most-reliable kickers. He is the third-most accurate kicker (min. 150 attempts) in league history, connecting on 83.7 percent of his field goals (462-of-552).
In 2008, Stover was 27-of-33 for field goals, with a long of 47 yards, and perfect on all 41 extra points.
The Ravens did not retain him this year because his leg lost some power and he was routinely limited to field goals within 40 yards. To keep Stover, the Ravens would have had to reserve separate roster spots for him and current kicker and kickoff man Steve Hauschka, who has converted four of five field goals this year.
Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee also handles kickoffs, so Stover would only concentrate on his trademark field goal accuracy.
Stover spent his entire career with the Ravens franchise, beginning in 1991 with the Cleveland Browns. He was also the Ravens’ longtime NFL Players’ Association Representative, a position that has now been filled by tight end Todd Heap.
“You miss the veteran leadership, even though he was a kicker,” said wideout Derrick Mason when Stover’s status with the Ravens was official. “[You miss] his wisdom and his knowledge of the game – what goes on inside and outside the game with the standpoint of the players and their safety, well being. You miss that more than anything because he was a guy you can always go to and ask a question.
“For me, it was more so from a [NFL]PA stand point. Where I can go ask Matt a question of, ‘What’s going on?’ and he would be able to tell me. Just to have his leadership and his knowledge of what’s going on, was great for this locker room.”