When I was a little boy, my dad used to take me to the Colts' games at Memorial Stadium. We'd get there about 90 minutes early because, well, that's what a lot of people did back then. But my dad used to love to watch the team's band come on to the field and play the fight song.
What a lot of younger folks who didn't see the Colts when they ruled Baltimore don't understand is the popularity of that song. I loved it. I could still sing it -- but you would not want to hear me try. I always felt it was a real part of this city.
And it was just one more thing that was gone when Bob Irsay snuck out with the team in the middle of the night 28 years ago.
But it's been interesting to hear the Ravens start to play that great song again.
Yes, it's just a small thing. Still, I've noticed the crowd really pay attention when the song comes on. There's only a portion of the crowd that's going to know and understand and appreciate the meaning of it. But it's part of this city's football and sports history.
So much of what's involved with sports nowadays has to do with marketing, and ok, this is probably a move in that field. But it's also a nod to what we once had in this town.
People forgot about the history of the Baltimore Colts in some ways when they left town. Still, the Ravens have done a very good job of trying to remind people of it. They've brought former Colt stars out and shown them to the town again. The Baltimore Colts were an integral part of this town when here. They weren't just a team. They were more.
Now, that's what the Ravens have become. And playing that fight song is just another smart move they've made.
Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.
The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.
“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”
Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.
“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”
Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.
The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.
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Kick off your Thursday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including what to watch for at OTAs.
1. As the Ravens try and bolster their pass rush during the offseason, they hope to find much-needed help from outside linebacker, Shane Ray. The Ravens picked up Ray from the Denver Broncos where he had an unproductive last two seasons due to injury, only registering one sack in each of the past two seasons. However, Ray had a phenomenal career at Missouri as a unanimous All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. The Ravens have given Ray a shot at a career reboot and fans are excited to see what he's got.
2. Thursday is the media's first opportunity to get a look at the 2019-20 Ravens. Ravens writer Ryan Mink writes seven things to look out for at OTAs including, attendance from veterans even though OTAs are mandatory, a look at linebacker development with the signings of namely Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray and a first look at the rookie class to name a few.
July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.
The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.
Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.
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