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Billy Cundiff still hears from fans about his AFC championship miss.
The Ravens kicker was at The Fresh Market the other day when the cashier commiserated with him about it, talking about how a timeout could have been called or something.
Cundiff told the cashier what he tells everyone else.
“What’s in the past is in the past,” he said Wednesday, the first time he’s spoken to media in months. “If you don’t win a Super Bowl in this league, then what you do doesn’t really matter for the most part.”
Cundiff’s goals this offseason were to get healthy and improve on his long-distance attempts.
It wasn’t to get over the wide-left, 32-yard kick that would have sent the Ravens into overtime against the New England Patriots this past January.
Cundiff Getting Over His Miss
“It’s all about moving forward,” he said. “That’s the big thing for me. I would have liked to have made that kick, but at the same time, it didn’t happen.”
Cundiff has worked with a sports psychologist since he was out of the league in 2007, but didn’t indicate they had done anything out of the ordinary to help him get over the miss.
“I wasn’t looking for consoling; I wasn’t looking for counseling,” he said. “You take it, you meet it head on and you move on.”
While Cundiff says he has moved on, the world around him likely won’t for some time.
While not specifically avoiding it, he didn’t want to sit down and watch video of his miss because he knew what happened and “didn’t need to be reminded of it.”
But he couldn’t dodge it because 2011 season review highlights play when he sits down for breakfast or lunch at the team facility, and naturally, Cundiff’s kick serves as the tough-to-swallow ending.
“It’s a learning experience and you just kind of put it where you put everything else,” Cundiff said.
Cundiff views it as an anomaly, and thus he says it doesn’t affect his preparation this season.
He hadn’t missed a field- goal attempt in the fourth quarter all season long. He was among the NFL’s most accurate kickers within 50 yards (87 percent). He had never previously missed a kick in the playoffs in two years with the Ravens, going 8-for-8.
Asked what he anticipates his confidence level will be like next time he steps up for a crucial kick, Cundiff didn’t blink.
“I think it’s as high as it’s ever been,” he said.
Punter and holder Sam Koch said he hasn’t noticed a difference in Cundiff so far this spring.
Koch said Cundiff’s family and faithhave helped him get over the miss. Koch and long-snapper Morgan Cox, among others, have offered support while also not dwelling on it.
“Everybody wished we would have made it,” Koch said. “But it’s one of those things that, now that it’s happened, you can’t be mad at him forever. Let him go out there and do his thing. We know he can kick.”
The Ravens gave Texas kicker Justin Tucker a tryout during rookie camp, but he was never signed to the team and wasn’t present at organized team activities.
Cundiff expressed his gratitude that the Ravens didn’t “take the easy way out” and retained him. Cundiff signed a long-term contract after being named a Pro Bowler in 2010.
And the Ravens, and Cundiff’s teammates, are showing their faith in him to rebound.
“Just because he missed one field goal doesn’t mean we value him any less than before. He’s the guy and everyone trusts that he’s going to get the job done,” special teams leader Brendon Ayanbadejo said.
“Billy wants to be under that kind of pressure. He wants to prove himself, and he will more times than not. He’ll do it 99 percent of the time. We got the one miss out of the way and now you’re going to see a whole bunch more game-winners out of Billy.”