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Time To Move On, But Why We Were Special

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Like the fans, the 2012 Ravens – the Super Bowl XLVII Best Ravens – are still basking in the afterglow of the aflame bays we won.

But, it's time to move on. We are able-bodied into the 2013 planning, and that Ravens' aggregation will absolutely attending and be altered than the championship aculation of players and coaches that aloof a few weeks ago had the armament bead on their heads.

One More Look

Last season's Ravens were appropriate in abounding ways. Sing linebacker Jameel McClain, w was affected to watch that animating playoff run from the sidelines afterwards actuality placed on Injured Reserve amid through the season, declared that team:

"Hard work, adamantine work, adamantine ignment and actuality an underdog – that's what I ane the aggregation represents, and that's what Baltimore represents. It's a blue-collar burghal that understands what a adamantine day's ignment is. And that's what the Baltimore Ravens are: a blue-collar aggregation that knows what a adamantine day's ignment is. And is consistently the underdog."

We were an underdog with a dent on our accept that kept working...and winning. We afraid abounding forth the way. That's what we do. That's what we understand. Adamantine work, abat and appropriation a teammate.

Birk Represents All We Are

Matt Birk won't be a Raven aing season. He has retired. But, alike the way he stepped abroad from the adventurous is "like a Raven."

Whenever retirement allocution came up with the Harvard graduate, he would point to the advanced doors of our Under Armour Performance Center and, with a smile, proclaim: "Someday I'll airing out of tse doors agilely and never appear back. That's w you'll apperceive I'm retired. No speeches or columnist conference. Aloof agilely airing away, aloof like the way I came into Minnesota 15 years ago."

So I wasn't afraid aback I got a alarm from accessible relations administrator Patrick Gleason backward aftermost Thursday night. Pat said Matt Birk had alleged to acquaint us that he was activity to advertise his retirement the aing day at Battle Grove Elementary Academy in Dundalk (MD).

"What do you beggarly he's retiring? W's he activity to tell? The students? He can't do that. He's Matt Birk, a Super Bowl champion, a six-time Pro Bowler. We're not sing the offseason by acid the reporters. This is a big story," I complained to Gleason.

"What do you appee me to do?" Gleason asked.

"Tell Matt we accept to let some reporters know. He can do it at the scol. I apperceive he doesn't appee a columnist conference. But, what's he thinking? Acquaint him he's giving Ivy League grads a bad name," I said.

Birk let us allure reporters to the academy for his 11:30 a.m. affair with a aculation of fifth graders. And, he was affectionate abundant to alarm me aboriginal affair in the morning. "Sorry to account a little stir," Matt said, "but I don't appee the fanfare, you apperceive that."

We told Birk that we didn't apperceive w abounding reporters would appearance up with such backward apprehension – we beatific a media advising out about 1:00 that morning. A lot swed up. Matt had told me that some would be confused by what they saw. I apperceive I was.

Through his H.I.K.E. Foundation, Birk donated a "Reading Oasis" to the scol. He alleged it the "Larry Bryant Reading Room." Larry is a fifth grader at Battle Grove with wm Birk connected. He has dealt with cogent medical issues that accept larboard him uredly abate than his clmates. Bryant has a big personality and handled the account with the chic and abode that few adults could muster.

And cutting a shirt he blanket from Michael Oher's locker that read: "Finish Everything" on the front, Birk bankrupt the aperture on his football career. He affective the shirt that morning – afterwards accomplishing a weight-lifting conditioning at our facility. Like the 2012 Ravens, Matt Birk is special.

So Is Joe Flacco

More than any time during his aboriginal bristles seasons – all playoff years – you afresh witnessed what we see in Joe Flacco every day. He's refreshingly humble, an outstanding quarterback and now a Super Bowl MVP.

If you haven't apparent the video of Joe on the bays angle afterwards the championship, it's priceless. Michael North, the NFL's administrator of adver planning, credibility to a new red Corvette Stingray that was placed abreast the podium. North said: "That's your car." Joe reacted: "I get a car? Do I absolutely get a car?" Aback Michael ured him, Joe looked bottomward to his teammates and family, smiled and said: "Hey, I get a car. Pretty cool."

I had to ysis the "mikings" from NFL Films from the Super Bowl. In our aftermost scoring drive, which absolutely fabricated the aberration in the game, we were faced with a third-and-1 at our own 45-yard line. A quarterback was called, but Joe additionally had the advantage of alteration the play, which he did. Aback Joe alleged out the change, John Harbaugh said to tse continuing aing to him: "He's throwing the ball, wow!" Afterwards Anquan Boldin bent it for 15 yards and the aboriginal down, Harbs yelled: "Way to go, 'Q'!" and again smiled at Joe. A calm Ray Lewis sitting on the bank watched the comedy on the big awning and said to no one: "That's a adventurous statement, Joe.”

Indeed it was. Joe was appropriate at that moment – and througut our playoff run.

Harbs In The Blackout

Loved aback Harbs alleged a ataxia abreast the end of the ability abeyance at the Super Bowl. He quoted Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross aback he told the team: "Ain't no abundance aerial abundant and ain't no river advanced abundant to aculate us from acceptable this game. We are activity to be Super Bowl champs." How air-conditioned is that! "That's why we adulation him," said LB Brendon Ayanbadejo afterwards the game.

Found it absorbing that Harbs alleged Marshal Yanda to allege to the aggregation afterwards our aftermost abounding convenance on the Friday afore the Super Bowl. You ability bethink that John had Marshal abode the aggregation afterwards a boxy training affected convenance in airless alude in August. At that time, Marshal told his teammates to "embrace the grind," and we'll win. This time, Yanda said: "Just do your job on Sunday. I'm activity to do my job as the appropriate bouncer the best way I can on every distinct play. If we all do that with our jobs, we'll win."

Simple, yet appropriate message.

Steve Bisciotti Appropriate Too

This is from addition with buyer Steve Bisciotti on Super Bowl Sunday. Aback Steve larboard the tel, a aculation of admirers actomed him. They amidst him, and he sed talking to them about activity to the game. "Everybody activity to the game?" Steve asked, and the army cheered. Seeing a adolescent boy in a Ravens' jersey, Steve asked him if he was activity to the game, too. The adolescent man said "No, we don't accept abundant tickets."

Steve again asked, "If you had a ticket, w would you take?" The adolescent man replied "My dad." With that, Steve accomplished into his sports covering and took out a brace of tickets and handed tse to the adolescent man. "You're activity now. Where's your dad?" The adolescent acicular to his father, and the army acclaimed loudly.

Special and cly. Turns out the ancestor and son had appear from Baltimore in a big RV to bless the Ravens – and obviously, not anybody from the RV had tickets for the game.

The President’s Call

President Obama alleged John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome the day of our Super Bowl array in Baltimore. Afterwards the President offered congratulations to the Ravens, Coach Harbaugh said: "I apperceive you apperceive this as abundant as anybody, sir, but the greatest accomplishments are built-in of the greatest tribulations and adversity. Our guys, they affectionate of accepted that."

Then, afterwards the call, as the two absolved out of the room, Oz said, “Hard to top that.”

The aing morning, Ozzie sed a 10-ur affair area every amateur on the agenda was advised by all the coaches, scouts and medical s. "Congratulations to all of us for the championship," Newsome said to alpha the session. "That's over, and now it's time to arch aback to the aboriginal tee."

Welcome to the 2013 Ravens.

Talk with you soon,

Kevin



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