Last night, Ravens players, staff, and fans gathered (fittingly) at the The Patricia and Arthur Model Performing Arts Center at The Lyric to watch a screening of the NFL Films DVD Baltimore Ravens: Super Bowl XLVII Champions, available today on the Ravens website.
Players arrived at the Lyric around 5 p.m., all pausing on the purple carpet for photos and interviews. Of course, the big elephant in the room was the news that wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers earlier in the day.
"Anquan was a great receiver for myself and for our football team for this whole organization," said Joe Flacco, who attended the event with his wife Dana. "It's sad to see a guy like that go, but at the same time you want what's best for him and you just wish him the best of luck . . . You lose a lot of things, you lose a leader, you lose that fire. Most importantly, you lose a really good player and a guy that's done it over and over again."
Defensive end Arthur Jones, who was all smiles for the camera, had more of a positive spin on the situation. "It's really unfortunate, but it's part of a business. Right now we're here to celebrate the time we did have with him. I wish him all the best in the future."
Ray Lewis and Torrey Smith arrived in a limo together and Lewis admitted he's felt a bit relieved in retirement. "Honestly, there's no pressure because every year is always a new year, every offseason is always a new offseason. You're always gearing up for something. But for me now, it's more gearing up for business, more gearing up for life, and more gearing up for the kids. The pressure meter is down a little bit and that's probably the biggest difference." As far as his future as an ESPN analyst, Lewis said that both sides are still working out the details.
Fellow wide receiver Smith, predictably, had a disappointing reaction to Boldin's trade. "It's tough for everyone. Not just myself, obviously there might be a little more responsibility, but I had that last year and the year before that. It's definitely hard. The biggest thing is not so much about football, when you lose someone like that, a mentor, a big brother, someone you love like a brother and would do anything for him. It's tough."
Ray Rice attended the event with his adorable daughter Rayven, while Jacoby Jones arrived with his Dancing With The Stars partner Karina Smirnoff, who he's been doing a gaggle of promotions with this past week. On Boldin, Jones commented, "We learned a lot of routes from him, how he thinks, what he sees . . . He's always a Raven with me."
Once everyone filed into the theater, broadcasters Gerry Sandusky, Qadry Ismail, and Stan White brought out the Lombardi Trophy and introduced the two-hour Super Bowl film. Narrated by Baltimore native and actor Josh Charles, the film took viewers through the season game by game. The sideline snippets were definitely the highlights, something you'd expect if you kept up with NFL Sound FX all year. Bonus features include media day footage, post-game ceremonies, and Harbaugh family interviews.
Reliving the memorable season on a giant screen at The Lyric with players and coaches in attendance was a pretty neat experience. The biggest cheers came from Jones' punt returns, Smith's receptions, and Flacco's hail-mary throws. But, you couldn't help but notice hushes in the theater after the countless Boldin receptions on the highlight reel. Fans, like the players, are very sad to see Q go.
[Photos by me]