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Ravens cut QB Stewart, activate RB Smith

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (Nov. 9, 2005) -- Kordell Stewart was cut by the Baltimore Ravens, who no longer need him as a backup quarterback now that Kyle Boller has returned from a toe injury.

Stewart was signed on Sept. 11 after Boller hyperextended his right big toe in the opener against Indianapolis. Playing as the backup to Anthony Wright, Stewart appeared in only one game, entering for a single series Nov. 6 against Cincinnati after Wright sprained an ankle.

Stewart didn't throw a pass, but ran for 30 yards on three carries in a drive that produced a field goal in Baltimore's 21-9 loss.

Boller, who missed seven games, will start Nov. 13 against Jacksonville and Wright will be the backup. Instead of keeping Stewart as a third-stringer, the Ravens opted to activate running back Musa Smith, who broke his leg last season and is finally ready to play again.

"He's a huge addition for us, particularly on special teams," coach Brian Billick said of Smith. "Obviously at this time of the season, to have depth at running back is pivotal, so it's a great pickup for us in that regard."

Billick said wide receiver Randy Hymes, who played quarterback at Grambling, will be the third-stringer behind Boller and Wright.

Stewart, 33, was not available for comment. The former Pro Bowl quarterback was on the Baltimore roster last year, but has not thrown a pass since 2003 with Chicago.

Smith began working with the Ravens three weeks ago, unsure if the right leg he broke a year ago would hold up under the strain. Much to his delight, it did.

"I was shocked to see how I felt, how I was cutting, my speed and my explosiveness," Smith said. "The confidence just built from there."

Before the surgery, he was told there was a good chance he would never play again.

"They told me I had a 50 percent chance of coming back. That definitely hit me hard," he said. "I did things during the offseason to prepare me for life after football."

Now, however, his focus is entirely on helping the Ravens rebound from a 2-6 start.

"I'm excited," said Smith, Baltimore's third-round pick in the 2003 draft. "I'll be playing mostly special teams like I've been doing, and they'll try to work me in at running back as the weeks go on."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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