Football fans, from left to right, Helen Reyes, of Essex, Ranee… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
A raucous crowd of 11,506 was on hand Friday at McDaniel College in Westminster as the Ravens held their first full-squad practice of the new season under clear blue skies and in unseasonably cool temperatures.
It was the largest crowd at a Ravens non-scrimmage practice in the history of the franchise. The Ravens Fan Zone, which offered such attractions as a rock-climbing wall and a misting station, was packed all morning, as was the 98 Rock "Bacon and Beer Party," which offered beer priced at $1.98 for the occasion.
In a bold move, Tami Morris from Cascade, Md., appeared in the cordoned off beer party section wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, earning a round of boos as well as a stream of epithets directed her way.
"I'm a huge Steelers fan and I'm just taking a bunch of flak," said a smiling Morris. She said she had brought her niece, Savannah Morris, a huge Ravens fan, to the practice to celebrate the girl's seventh birthday.
"But after that reception," she added, shaking her head, "I think I need a beer."
The Ravens said their controversial new autograph policy got off to a smooth start as an estimated 1400 children were issued wristbands. The Ravens did not have weight-lifting sessions scheduled after the practice, so big-name players such as Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco signed for close to an hour.
The only somber note of the morning occurred when Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced that veteran cornerback Domonique Foxworth tore his ACL during a non-contact drill at Thursday's orientation day practice and would be lost for the season.