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Ravens welcome longtime season ticket holders for meet-and-greet at Castle

By JON MEOLI, The Baltimore Sun
Original Article: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baltimore-sports-blog/bal-ravens-welcome-longtime-season-ticket-holders-for-meetandgreet-at-castle-20150608-story.html


Tour 2

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith poses for a picture with Tommy Torpey, 6, from High Point, N.C., who’s held by his grandfather, Brian Torpey from Timonium. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun)

A group of original Ravens personal seat license holders who came to Owings Mills to pick up their season ticket packages Monday left with a lot more than that.

As part of the team’s 20th anniversary celebration, the Ravens randomly selected 20 ticket holders, who were told they could tour the Under Armour Performance Center.

When they came in the front door in small groups, they quickly found they were in for much more. A friendly — and very familiar — face greeted them.

Wide receiver Steve Smith was seated behind the reception desk in full uniform, shielded by a copy of today’s edition of The Baltimore Sun. He greeted and took pictures with the fans, some of whom screamed at the realization that it was Smith behind the newspaper.

From there, a cheerleader escorted the fans to the team meeting room, where they found a personalized jersey waiting for them. Coach John Harbaugh spoke there, and enlisted quarterback Joe Flacco and tight end Dennis Pitta for help distributing the tickets.

The tour continued with a look around the locker room with defensive tackle Brandon Williams, running back Justin Forsett, and linebacker C.J. Mosley, and then some time in the fieldhouse with kicker Justin Tucker, punter Sam Koch, and long snapper Morgan Cox.

Only the portion with Smith was open to the media. Fans spent about an hour going through the building and hanging out with players.

Smith said his involvement was part of his natural progression of becoming a part of the Ravens organization and the Baltimore community.

“I think every player, when he comes into a new situation, new organization, new business, you are leery,” Smith said. “Where’s your role? Where’s your place? How are you seen? How are you embraced? All those things. This was just another opportunity to be embraced, open arms, but it also goes to making plays.”

“Every organization wants a guy who’s going to contribute to the community, but they also want guys, you’ve got to make plays on the field first before you can really contribute to the community,” Smith said. You can’t be a horrible football player and a pillar in your community, or you can’t be a great player and a terrible person in the community. They have to go hand in hand. So it’s just a great opportunity to do it… It gives me the opportunity to be a part of what they have going on.”