OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- While not many reporters or fans noticed Zachary Orr, the Baltimore Ravens were worried that other teams did.
The Ravens did their best to hide Orr throughout the preseason, but they still didn't want to risk losing him if they tried to sneak him on the practice squad.
So, the Ravens kept the undrafted rookie linebacker out of North Texas after the final major cut down on Saturday and they decided to waive Josh Bynes instead of Orr when they re-signed cornerback Derek Cox on Tuesday.
Asked why the Ravens gave a roster spot to Orr, coach John Harbaugh said, "He earned it." Orr and offensive tackle James Hurst are the two latest undrafted rookies to make the Ravens' season-opening 53-man roster, joining the likes of Priest Holmes, Bart Scott, Justin Tucker and Marlon Brown.
In the preseason, Orr made four tackles on defense and led the Ravens with three special-teams tackles. It should be noted that Orr was named first-team All-Conference USA for his work on the field and the Conference USA All-Academic team for his work off it.
"He's a really smart football player," Harbaugh said. "For being a young guy, he's a guy who picks up football very quickly. There are a lot of players who can physically do it in this league. But football is a complicated sport. Not to disparage any other sports, but there are a lot of processing that goes on football between the time the ball is snapped and the end of the play comes up. He's one of these guys who can understand and react on the run and do the right things. Not only that, he's physically pretty darn good."
Harbaugh made it clear that the Ravens haven't severed all ties with Bynes, who started a career-high six games for the Ravens last year and made the final tackle in the team's Super Bowl triumph.
"If we could ever bring him back, we will, in whatever capacity we can," Harbaugh said. "He's a Raven through and through. He's done nothing but help us be our best. He's completely all-in with everything we've ever done here. I know he'll do well no matter what he does."