Get in on the ravens draft

Saturday's Spring Football Festival at the stadium puts the fans with the players

April 26, 2007|By Christina Lee | Christina Lee,Sun Reporter

The NFL draft: an event that can induce anxiety, sweat and even a little bit of nail-biting.

But it doesn't have to be. While in the company of your favorite team, the anticipation may be a bit easier to swallow.

The Baltimore Ravens are offering this opportunity to more than 10,000 fans Saturday. At the 10th annual Spring Football Festival, players past and present will be at M&T Bank Stadium, as the first three rounds of the NFL draft air live on its big screens from New York's Radio City Music Hall.

"It has a different atmosphere than game day," said Megan Collins, the team's events and entertainment manager. "I don't want to say it's less stressful, but it's more interactive. It puts [fans] closer to the team."

At the festival, fans gain access to the team locker room and an opportunity to take pictures with the Super Bowl XXXV Lombardi Trophy from the 2001 matchup against the New York Giants.

But it's the fan forums, question-and-answer sessions with Ravens players, that really bring fans together with the players, said Collins.

More than 20 players will answer questions and sign autographs, including the team's newest member, running back Willis McGahee, who joined the Ravens last month in a trade from the Buffalo Bills, as Jamal Brown signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Other current players making appearances are cornerbacks Chris McAllister and Derrick Martin, wide receivers Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, tight end Daniel Wilcox and kicker Matt Stover. Guest alumni include former offensive tackle Orlando Brown, linebacker Brad Jackson and Baltimore Colts running back Lenny Moore.

On the field, kids can join the Gatorade Jr. Training Camp, where they can learn from local coaches how to tackle, pass and kick like a pro. They also can dress the part by trying on equipment at the stadium's club level.

"It's fun seeing little kids with big helmets, flopping around," Collins said.

The grown-ups have more chances to show off their skills in the street football game and obstacle course. They also still can try to kick a field goal -- a fan favorite, Collins said.

Off the field, the Gameday Auction is putting up for bids a variety of Ravens memorabilia. No luck at the auction? The rummage sale will have deals on jerseys, mini-helmets and more.

The Spring Football Festival is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine, at M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St. Tickets are $10-$15. Kids age 2 and younger are free. Call 410-261-7283 or go to

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