OK, so the NFL draft itself did not go so well for Brendan Carney. The immediate aftermath certainly did.

Within 5 minutes of being passed over, Carney, a standout punter/kickoff specialist for Syracuse University by way of Malvern Prep, agreed to free-agent terms with the Baltimore Ravens.

The 6-5, 203-pound Carney is Syracuse's all-time leader in punts (265) and yardage (11,279) and his average (42.4) ranks second. His norm for 179 career kickoffs was 64.4.

"The kickoff thing is definitely a plus in trying to make a team," Carney said. "Baltimore carries three guys for punting, kicking and kickoffs, so I'll have a chance to compete for two jobs."

Carney said he and his agents received strong Minnesota vibrations before the draft, and that he'd even allowed himself to feel confident about being picked in the seventh and final round.

"As the time got close, Minnesota disappeared. They did us wrong," Carney said. "They didn't call me and they wouldn't answer my agents' calls. They had us hanging on.

"But I'm pretty close with the Ravens' special teams coach [Frank Gansz Jr.]. He called me in the middle of the seventh round to ask if I'd been drafted yet. He said they had no more picks, but he'd really like to bring me in. I have a good feeling about this."

Carney began to see a big picture after his sophomore year.

"People kept telling me, 'Hey, man, you might be able to make a career of this,' " he said. "I made sure to buckle down and focus, and now I have a chance." *