Gideon, Tucker Sign Free Agent Deals

Gideon, Tucker Sign Free Agent Deals

Two more Longhorns picked up free-agent deals shortly after the conclusion of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Safety Blake Gideon signed with the Arizona Cardinals, while kicker/punter Justin Tucker will start off with the Baltimore Ravens.

Gideon started 52 games in his Texas career, the second-most in school history.

"We started fielding calls from different teams about midway through the seventh round with them saying that if I wasn't drafted, they'd like to be first on my list," Gideon said. "We were just weighing the different opportunities, and we figured that Arizona would be the best situation for me to go into.

"It's a great feeling," Gideon said. "It's a huge load off my shoulders. Right after the season, everybody starts stressing about this with the preparation that goes into the combine and then Pro Day, and then ultimately leading up to today. It's a huge relief knowing that I can get back to focusing on football and knowing what team I'll be playing for."

Texas coach Mack Brown spoke highly about Gideon's intangibles.

"Blake Gideon is a guy who, unlike many in the history of college football, started every game that he played at the University of Texas," Brown said. "He's durable. He's smart. He made some great plays for us and his leadership on the field was as good as any we've ever had. He also overcame a lot of adversity. He's tremendously strong. He's a coach's son, and he is a guy that can play all special teams plus safety.

Tucker, of course, will be best remembered for nailing the game-winning field goal in the final Texas-Texas A&M game.

"Almost immediately after the last pick came up on the screen, I got a number of phone calls from several different teams, one of which was the Baltimore Ravens, with whom I shortly thereafter signed a free agent deal to get into camp and compete for a job," Tucker said. "I think the experience leading all the way up to today has been awesome, and this is a tremendous opportunity for me. It's going to be fun. I know just from watching the Ravens for a number of years, they've always got awesome defensive players, and the offense is always improving, and it just looks like an awesome team to be a part of. I hope I can get in there and earn some respect and have a good time with it and eventually earn a spot and be able to put points on the board."

Brown said Tucker "did everything for us."

"He was involved in kicking, punting, kickoff and placekicking," Brown said. "And he was very accurate at all of it – plus he's a great athlete. He's good at faking punts, and he's a guy that has the athletic ability to tackle someone in an open field if they get away on kickoffs. Somebody will be lucky to get him. You just have to go back to the kick at A&M – he had dreamed of that kick and it came down to two seconds and there was no doubt in anybody's mind in that stadium that he was going to make it."

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