The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contracts of veteran special teams performers Joe Maese and Wade Richey as they trimmed their roster to the regular season limit of 53 players.
Maese, who had been the Ravens' long snapper since the team selected him with a sixth-round draft pick in 2001, and Richey, a kickoff specialist who spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, were among the 17 players released on Saturday afternoon.
Rookie safety Chris Kelley, a former Seneca Valley High and Maryland standout, was waived, as were tight end Trent Smith, a seventh-round pick in 2003, and rookie linebacker Mike Smith, a seventh-round pick who finished second on the team in tackles with 20 in the preseason.
Trent Smith, who missed the past two seasons with a broken leg, was the odd man out in a crowded group of tight ends of whom the Ravens kept four: Todd Heap, Darnell Dinkins, Dan Wilcox and Terry Jones. Baltimore also will begin the season with six wide receivers -- including Randy Hymes, Patrick Johnson and Devard Darling -- and three fullbacks.
"We have some good depth at key areas, and depth is always a concern," Coach Brian Billick said.
Rookie free agent Matt Katula won the long-snapping job, and veteran place kicker Matt Stover will handle kickoff duties.
The day's biggest surprise on the 53-man roster: rookie safety B.J. Ward. Ward, who played at Florida State, was signed on Aug. 8, one week into training camp. But he immediately earned notice for a series of hard hits in team drills and he was credited with eight tackles during the preseason, along with one forced fumble.
Cornerback Bill Alford, defensive back Calvin Carlyle, tackle Dante Ellington, cornerback Mark Estelle, guard Phil Hawkins, cornerback Zach Norton, running back Matt Sinclair, center Thatcher Szalay, defensive back Jamaine Winborne, defensive tackle Matt Zielinski and running backs Tellis Redmon and Alex Haynes were waived.
Ravens Notes: Billick wasn't overly concerned with the comments running back Jamal Lewis made to the Baltimore Sun regarding his disappointment that the team has not offered him a contract extension.
"We've been down this road before," Billick said. "We are in negotiations, we have been in negotiations; it never goes as fast as you'd like."