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Needing to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday’ 4 p.m. deadline, the Ravens wasted no time Sunday by parting ways with 12 players including veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and offensive lineman Ramon Harewood.
The timing of the decision to part with Shiancoe is a strong indication that starting tight end Ed Dickson is making strong progress after making his return to the practice field on a limited basis last week. Dickson suffered a partially-torn hamstring on Aug. 4, prompting the Ravens to sign veteran tight end Dallas Clark to improve their depth. Shiancoe had struggled to catch the ball consistently despite a strong performance in the third preseason game, and the Ravens will apparently go with a more blocking-minded third tight end in veteran Billy Bajema or rookie Matt Furstenburg.
Harewood began the 2012 season as the Ravens starting left guard on the offensive line before falling out of favor and spending much of the season on the game-day inactive list. A restricted free agent this past offseason, he wasn’t offered a tender but instead re-signed on a one-year contract that included a reported $320,000 signing bonus.
Other cuts included wide receiver Tommy Streeter, running back Damien Berry, wide receiver Rashaad Carter, guard Jack Cornell, linebacker Bryan Hall, tackle David Mims, cornerback Moe Lee, defensive end Will Pericak, linebacker Meshak Williams, and wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard of Towson.
Hall shed upwards of 50 pounds this offseason after converting from defensive tackle. Originally an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State, Hall spent his rookie season as a member of the Ravens’ practice squad in 2011 before making the 53-man roster as a defensive tackle last season. He was active for five regular-season games last year, collecting three tackles.
Streeter, a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, spent his rookie season on injured reserve with foot injury but never showed enough ability in practice to suggest he could be an NFL wideout and had fallen behind the likes of rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette on the depth chart.
The Ravens also placed linebacker Adrian Hamilton on injured reserve with a wrist injury, which is beneficial to their roster crunch at the linebacker position.
Baltimore announced the signing of quarterback Dayne Crist, which is nothing more than depth for Thursday’s preseason finale after backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the Carolina game to be evaluated for a possible concussion. Third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie and potentially Crist figure to receive extensive action against the St. Louis Rams.
Despite Tuesday being the deadline to go from 90 to 75, many teams will release select veterans a few days earlier than that to allow them to potentially catch on with another team. Baltimore released veteran cornerback Chris Johnson early last week.
Following Sunday’s announcements, the Ravens have 77 players on their preseason roster and will have to make a couple more moves, but those shouldn’t be surprising with offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, linebacker Jameel McClain, and tight end Dennis Pitta all dealing with long-term injuries at the moment.