List Of Guidelines For Ravens' Three Stadium Practices
NOTES: JAMAL LEWIS ARRESTED; BREAST CANCER, LATINO OBSERVANCES
By Joe Platania
The approximately 200 fans that have been allowed inside the Under Armour Performance Center on a daily basis to watch the Ravens' training-camp practices have seemingly enjoyed themselves so far.
Although the sheer numbers don't provide the sometimes-deafening atmosphere often found at McDaniel College in Westminster -- where several thousand fans often crowded the grounds for a morning practice -- the fans that have been lucky enough to witness practice have cheered every catch, marveled at every hit or near-hit and groaned at every dropped pass.
Special groups of youth teams, as well as military personnel such as those involved with the Wounded Warrior Project, have lined the familiar white-plastic fences to get autographs from their favorite players, such as Joe Flacco and Ray Rice.
If only for three days, many more fans will get to do the same at this year's stadium-setting practices, the first of which is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens' home venue, set to begin its 15th season of operation this fall, was the site of the team's first-ever unbeaten home regular-season performance.
This year, the team's tougher schedule will bring both Super Bowl participants to Baltimore in the same season for the first time (New England Patriots, New York Giants).
Also, there will be other quality opponents visiting Russell Street such as the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and the two AFC North Division rivals that made the playoffs along with the Ravens in 2011, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.
But as far as Saturday is concerned, it's the fans that get the first crack at entering the stadium gates, which they will be able to do at 3:30 p.m.
Tailgating -- the cold version only -- can begin when the stadium lots open at noon. Parking will be $10 on Saturday, but practice admission is free.
The team is providing as much of the game-day experience as possible on Saturday, with the Marching Ravens band, cheerleaders, Poe the mascot and an appearance by Rise and Conquer. The team store and concession stand will also be open.
If fans are unable to attend Saturday's practice, perhaps the Sunday, Aug. 12 festivities at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis might be a good choice.
This practice has long been a dream of Ravens majority owner and Anne Arundel County native Steve Bisciotti, who wanted a training-camp practice in his own backyard.
As with the M&T event, the gates will open at 3:30 p.m., with the practice starting at 5 p.m. Admission is free, with parking lots open at noon for cold tailgating. Parking is $10 for cars and $25 for buses and passes can be purchased at navysports.com.
Stadium shuttles may be pressed into service if the stadium lots run out of spaces.
All mascots, marching band members and cheerleaders are scheduled to be in Annapolis that day, with an on-site team store up and running, and open concession stands.
The final stadium practice will actually be taking place after the team's training-camp mode has already concluded. Camp ends Aug. 15, but the Ravens will still take the field at Mustang Stadium (Stevenson University) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19.
Gates open at 2:30 p.m. for this practice, which is a ticketed event for which fans entered an online lottery. Fans that got tickets for this practice should have received their parking passes in the mail along with their admissions.
The Stevenson concession stands will be open for this practice and the on-site team store will also be operating. No tailgating will be permitted.
JOEY P'S TRIVIA TIME: Today's question:
As we noted in yesterday's Ravens Report afternoon post, the 2012 season marks the 15th year of operation for the facility now known as M&T Bank Stadium.
By now, most local fans are aware that when the team premiered in Memorial Stadium in 1996, the Oakland Raiders were the first opponent, Vinny Testaverde scored the first touchdown and Ray Lewis snared the first interception.
Who recorded those distinctions during the first regular-season game on Russell Street?
The answer will be revealed at the bottom of Thursday's post-practice entry.
J. LEWIS ARRESTED: Ravens' all-time leading rusher Jamal Lewis was arrested and charged with child abandonment in Clayton County, Ga., early Thursday morning, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Lewis has reportedly not had any contact with his son in more than a year.
It was announced last month that Lewis, who gained 7,801 rushing yards after Baltimore selected him fifth overall in the 2000 draft -- with a pick that had belonged to the Atlanta Falcons -- would be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor this September.
Seven years ago, Lewis was also arrested in the Atlanta area for using a cellphone to facilitate a cocaine transaction. For that, he received a four-month jail sentence.
Perhaps the most high-profile arrest involving a Ravens player also occurred in Atlanta, when linebacker Ray Lewis was taken into custody in January 2000, and charged with a double murder that occured the same night Super Bowl XXXIV was being played at the Georgia Dome between the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans.
In that case, Lewis was found guilty of obstruction of justice.
Jamal Lewis was scheduled to return to Baltimore at 2:15 p.m. this Friday afternoon to sign autographs at a national memorabilia show at the Convention Center. Whether Lewis will make that appearance remains to be seen.
The last year has been particularly eventful for Lewis, who declared bankruptcy in December and a few months later joined in a concussion lawsuit against the National Football League, alleging that such injuries have affected his post-football existence.
SPECIAL OCCASIONS: Week Three of this year's regular season (Sunday, Sept. 23) is when the "Futbol Americano" banners will be seen at stadiums around the league, and some of the television play-by-play you hear might be in Spanish.
That's the weekend the league will observe Hispanic Heritage Month, which was first marked in 2002. Then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue wanted to pay tribute to the Hispanic fan market and came up with the idea for the observance.
Such tributes will be numerous on that weekend's national-TV games, which include the New England-Baltimore contest on Sunday night (NBC).
Also, the NFL has designated Oct. 7-8 as "Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend," that time of year when coaches and players wear cleats, gloves, hats and other gear lined in pink, the color associated with awareness of the disease.
Game officials and team executives will also be wearing pink-ribbon lapel pins, and all 32 stadium fields will have their usual pink-ribbon stencils on both 25-yard lines.
Not only that, official game balls will also have pink ribbons stenciled on them and a pink-ribbon decal will be affixed to each player's helmet.
The Ravens are playing in Kansas City that weekend, where the pink-colored gear is sure to be evident. But Baltimore's first home game of the month -- the day when local fans will get their opportunity to show their support for the cause -- will be the following weekend against the Dallas Cowboys.
The NFL has donated more than $3,000,000 to the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and fund research in an overall effort to help combat breast cancer.
Posted Aug. 2, 2012