Lewis, the now retired spiritual leader of the Ravens, didn’t even dance at the event. He didn’t have to. President Barack Obama provided enough of a reminder of why the team deserved to be celebrated on Pennsylvania Avenue.
“You see the resilience in players like Torrey Smith who lost his younger brother in a motorcycle accident the night before the game against the Patriots, but Torrey wanted to play, and he responded with 127 yards and two scores, so we’re so proud of Torrey,” Obama said.
“And then, of course, you can’t think about Baltimore without thinking of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed the two greatest defenders who ever played the game,” the President said as he spoke at length about the team’s ability to overcome adversity.
On the South Lawn at the White House, President Obama praised the team not only for the goal line stand that sealed its second Super Bowl trophy but its charitable work in Baltimore.
“That’s the spirit of the entire team. Last year, this team donated more than $1 million to charitable causes. They helped young people get active through the Play 60 campaign. Over Thanksgiving, they Skyped with a Maryland National Guard unit stationed in Afghanistan,” Obama said. “And today, I’m proud to announce that the Ravens will be donating brand new uniforms for varsity football and girls’ basketball teams at public schools all across Baltimore— that’s a total of 42 teams. We’re glad to have some high school athletes from Baltimore here to celebrate with us here today.”
Courtesy Photo/Baltimore Ravens Instagram
The president singled out Lewis, the legendary linebacker, for returning from injury to lead the defense in the playoffs— but only after kidding Lewis that he thought his arm injury came from the motivational dance he performed at every home game.
Ravens General Manager, Ozzie Newsome gave President Obama, the 44th president, the traditional team jersey emblazoned “MR PRESIDENT” with the number 44.
President Obama wished the team luck but warned them that they will face a tough game against his beloved Bears when the team visits Chicago next November.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had a final message for the president forecasting next year’s season, “I want you to know that we have plans to come back [to the White House] next year,” he said.