BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens moved practice to M&T Bank stadium on Monday for Military Appreciation Day. The practice not only salutes the military, it gives fans an opportunity to see the team up close before the season starts. Multiple veterans returned to practice after getting the veterans’ day off. Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith Sr., Daryl Smith, Kelechi Osemele and Chris Canty all were back in uniform.
Head coach John Harbaugh started Military Appreciation Day when he was first named head coach of the team. The head coach said that it was an honor to have the military there and addressed the military before practice started, thanking them for their service. He views the open practice as an opportunity for fans that may not ordinarily get to see the team because of how expensive it is to attend a game. Giving them that opportunity is very important to Harbaugh.
“We had the Wounded Warriors over, we had Ronald McDonald House kids over, and we had the kids from the Boys and Girls Club. That’s really what it’s about,” Harbaugh said. “You think about football in Baltimore, just families and military families, kids and moms and dads bonding, just bringing people closer together. That’s what makes you feel good about what you do – all of us. You look around the stadium right now, seeing all these children with smiles on their faces, it’s pretty amazing.”
The team took part in a spirited practice that really came alive during team period. Timmy Jernigan was very active against the running game. Rookie defensive tackle Carl Davis continued to play very well on the defensive line. Davis was excited to practice in front of the fans at the stadium for the first time. “It was fun to get a change of scenery, to get out here in front of everybody. It gives you a little extra juice. You get bumps and bruises but to be out there in the stadium, it helps you to not think about it and go out there and have fun.”
Two rookies really came alive in practice today. Tight end Maxx Williams had his best training camp practice under the lights. He made numerous catches including a nice catch and run on a post route. Williams beat Arthur Brown and caught a perfectly placed throw from Bryce Renner. Williams seemed to play with more aggression and had his best practice on a night when fans watched. “It’s always exciting when you get out in front of your hometown crowd for the first time,” Williams said. “I come in every day and try to do the best I can. I try to build and today, it was an up day.”
Buck Allen made quite a few catches as well. He showed his elusiveness when he caught a pass in the flat and made Albert McClellan fall to the ground. His cutback ability is a perfect match for the zone scheme. Allen made a couple of sudden cuts and got up field quickly during team period. He was also excited to play in his new home stadium. “It was a great experience to be in front of the fans here in this great arena. It’s amazing,” Allen said. “You walk out here and you’re all big eyed but once you get between the lines, it’s a man’s game. It’s a blessing to be out here in front of the fans.”
The highlight of practice came on a Hail Mary attempt from Matt Schaub to rookie receiver DeAndre Carter. The ball ricocheted off of Darren Waller and Carter was there to make the catch in the end zone. Steve Smith Sr. also drew some cheers from the fans after he beat Kyle Arrington for a touchdown on a corner route during team red zone period. Arrington and Smith collided early in practice and Smith received some attention from the trainers as a result. Smith came back during 7 on 7 and led off with a smooth reception in traffic.
There were a few players that were missing from practice. Both Breshad Perriman (sprained knee) and Elvis Dumervil (tendinitis) didn’t practice for the fourth consecutive day. Rashaan Melvin missed his second day in a row of practice due to a sore hamstring. Rookie defensive back Tray Walker left practice on Sunday with a hamstring injury and did not practice Monday either.
The Ravens got news that Matt Elam does in fact have a torn bicep and will be out for the year after surgery. That injury really opened up a spot for Brynden Trawick. Trawick turned in an outstanding practice. He was around the ball frequently and always had two interceptions during practice.
There were a total of 22,111 fans in attendance for the Ravens practice. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was on the sidelines watching the Ravens practice. Military Appreciation day was a special night for everyone, especially for Army quarterback Trent Steelman. “It’s humbling to be in this position. It’s a true privilege. I see them out there and I know what they’ve been through,” Steelman said. “My days as an officer, I have nothing but respect for them. They are the real true heroes. They are out there sacrificing.”