Ravens safety Ed Reed sauntered up to the podium for his post-game news conference wearing his white game pants and a white T-shirt. On the front of the shirt was a black-and-white photo of former Ravens majority owner Art Modell, with 1925-2012 underneath the picture.
Ravens players coaches and players wore the shirt under their gear on Monday night, and the message was clear: Modell was near and dear to them, especially on this night, four days after Modell, the man who brought football to Baltimore, died at age 87.
Reed, along with Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, visited Modell at Johns Hopkins Hospital the day before he died.
We wanted to do something just to honor him as players, because Mr. Modell was always around us, Reed said. He was always the owner that you see in the pictures, you see on the TV, he was always with his players. He was always hugging his players, and his players talking (to) him.
So right after we saw him, we knew we wanted to do something because we always have these T-shirts in Baltimore, to motivate us or just to remind us why were here.
"This is an opportunity that was definitely given to me and all those guys in there, Reed added. If Mr. Modell didn't bring the team to Baltimore, it doesn't happen for us. This city here loves football, too, and Mr. Modell saw that in this city, and he made us all Ravens.
Most of the current Ravens never played for the team while Modell was owner, but they still understood the emotion of the moment.
Of course we wanted to win this one for Art, running back Ray Rice said. That didnt have to be said in one of our meetings.
A guy like Ray Lewis and (Modell) are pioneers for the Ravens, Rice added. Ray really played with a lot of emotion, and we had no choice but to feed off of it.