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Tyree’s Role Should Be Special

David Tyree’s biggest value comes in his special teams prowess.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

The Ravens added a special teams ace and a Super Bowl-winning receiver in David Tyree this week.

Tyree simply wants to be known as a football player, one that is willing to do whatever the Ravens ask of him.

“I just like being a football player,” Tyree said before heading out to his first practice as a Raven on Wednesday.  “This isn’t a game of pass-catching, this isn’t a game of blocking punts.  This is a game of football.   I’m content with a lot of things, but when it’s all said and done, the thing that is said about me is that this guy was a great football player that laid it out each and every time he got an opportunity to step on the field.”

At this point, Tyree gives the Ravens depth at wideout, as he will challenge Demetrius Williams for the fourth receiver spot, possibly bumping Williams to the gameday inactive list.

But the former New York Giant’s biggest asset comes on a special teams unit that recently lost linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps tendon) for the season.

When asked about Tyree’s specific role, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh declined to elaborate. 

“Obviously we’re excited to have David Tyree on our team,” Harbaugh said.  “He fits in as a football player, really, is where he fits in.  He’s obviously a heck of a wide receiver and he’s been in big games.  He’s played for the Giants [and] we like the way the Giants play, so that fits us a little bit. 

“He’s a special teams guy, just a tough hard-nosed guy.  We’re excited to have him with us.”

Tyree left a workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early in order to fly to Baltimore on Tuesday and sign with the Ravens.

He said the fact that Charm City is so close to his hometown of Montclair, N.J., and his wife and four kids was a factor in his decision. 

“I’m a big-time family man and a Jersey guy,” Tyree admitted.  “In a lot of ways, this couldn’t have worked better for me.  I think the Ravens are excited for what I can bring to this special teams unit and add some depth at receiver.”

A former sixth-round draft pick out of Syracuse, Tyree has 54 receptions for 650 yards and four touchdowns over a six-year span.  He also boasts an impressive 85 career special teams stops.

Tyree spent last season on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, and then was released by New York after battling groin, knee and hamstring issues in training camp. 

Needless to say, performing in open tryouts for teams – something he did for the Ravens in September – was an unfamiliar occurrence.

“It was a completely new experience,” he admitted.  “Initially, I didn’t know what to expect, not having to run a 40 in six years.  You have to redirect a lot of your effort.  The main thing for me was to secure my health.”

Wearing a No. 17 jersey, Tyree got acclimated with his teammates during the portion of practice open to the media.

And no, he did not reenact the “helmet catch” he executed in Super Bowl XLII that made “David Tyree” a household name.

I’m sure he’s talked about it ad-nausea.  He’s even written a book about it

“The helmet has been my saving grace for a lot of reasons, recognition-wise and playmaking-wise,” Tyree said with a smile.

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