By Dean Smith
The reigning Super Bowl champions are getting ready for the 2013 season. The Ravens will start reporting to training camp July 22, and during the weeks before the season begins, fans will have chances to welcome back veterans such as Joe Flacco and Ray Rice and glimpse newcomers Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Matt Elam and Kyle Juszczyk in action for the first time.
For the second straight year, the Ravens will hold three practices that are free and open to the public, one at M&T Bank Stadium (Aug. 11), one at the Naval Academy's Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Aug. 4) and one at Stevenson University's Mustang Stadium (Aug. 18). Fans can also enter a drawing on BaltimoreRavens.com to be among the 200 selected to attend one of 13 open practices at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.
|Stevenson University president Kevin Manning and Ravens coach John Harbaugh at the Ravens' training camp practice at Mustang Stadium in 2012|
"Our fans bring a game-type excitement and energy that the players feed off during training camp," said Patrick Gleason, the assistant director of public relations for the Ravens.
With high expectations after a championship season, fans will also be curious to watch as the 2013 team embarks on a new era without retired linebacker Ray Lewis. The Ravens are also without veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, after trading him to San Francisco. Will Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson fill that void?
How will the new defense fare with a healthy Terrell Suggs at linebacker and Haloti Ngata at defensive tackle, but without free safety Ed Reed, who signed with the Houston Texans during the offseason? The answers to these and other questions will play out on the practice field as the preseason begins.
Cold tailgating will be permitted at the Ravens' training camp practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which will begin at 5 p.m. Aug. 4.
"We are looking forward to hosting the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens training camp practice for the second year in a row at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium," said Eric Ruden, Navy's deputy director of athletics. "This event gives us the chance to expose our stadium to tens of thousands of Ravens fans who have previously not visited our facility. We had a great turnout last year, and expect an even larger crowd this time."
The Ravens will also have a 5 p.m. session when they make their return to M&T Bank Stadium Aug. 11. Parking lots open at 1 p.m., and cold tailgating is permitted. The team store and concessions will also be open.
"Whether it's at our facility or off-site in a stadium setting, we always enjoy our fans' enthusiasm and how they bolster the practice environment," Gleason said.
At 5 p.m. Aug. 18, the Ravens will practice at Mustang Stadium -- the last off-site training camp event. Fans will need to enter a lottery to attend this practice because of limited space, and there is no tailgating allowed.
Stevenson is in close proximity to the Ravens' headquarters in Owings Mills, and university officials appreciate the relationship the team has with the school and the community, athletic director Brett C. Adams said.
"The Ravens are one of the best organizations in all of sports," Adams said. "Having them on campus for training camp is a great experience for our students, faculty and staff. Administratively, the Ravens do everything in a first-class manner, and this exposure to this great organization encourages us to want to do things at that level."
Stevenson and the Ravens are a major part of the Owings Mills community.
"Any time we can partner with other great organizations like the Ravens to give back to the community, I think everyone benefits," Adams said.
All practices will feature interactive fan events, including player autograph signings for children and fun-filled activities such as cheerleading and mascot meet and greets.
"Without question, the support we've received during training camp is a prime example of the incredible connection between our fans and the team," Gleason said. "Their excitement and dedication really help set the tone as we kick off each season."
More Cheap Seats:
• Ravens' Open Practices Important To Team, Hosts
• Ravens Fans To Travel To Canton For Ogden's Hall Of Fame Induction
• Grand Prix Of Baltimore Offering Attractions For Fans Of All Ages
• Orioles' Support Helping Casey Cares 5K Run/Walk Reach New Heights In 2013
Issue 187: July 2013