Two key members of the Baltimore Ravens will rest instead of attending Sunday's AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough.
Breathe easy, Ravens fans, it's not Ray Rice or Ed Reed.
Instead Ravens mascots Rise and Conquer will get a day off after a whirlwind tour of the Baltimore area where they helped raise excitement for the game, said Amy Eveleth, the birds' handler.
"I think they're very happy to have a weekend off," said Eveleth, a Catonsville resident. "But after the Ravens win, they will be very, very busy for the next couple of weeks."
Fridays are especially long days, Eveleth said, because the birds are part of the weekly Purple Fridays Caravan.
This Friday, the birds will join cheerleaders, the marching band, front office staff and Poe, the mascot, on the road from 7:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., according to the Baltimore Ravens website.
They will make appearances in Baltimore, Abington, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Annapolis, the website stated.
"If you see the big Ravens bus going down (Interstate) 695 on Friday, more than likely we're behind it," said Eveleth, who trained the birds in her garage.
Being busy isn't a bad thing, said Eveleth, who works with the Educational Outreach Program at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
"The more appearances the better because (Rise and Conquer) like to be stimulated," Eveleth said.
Born in Alabama nearly three years ago, Rise and Conquer descend from two species of African birds, the Ravens website said.
The brothers are hybrids of the brown-necked raven of northern Africa and the pied crow from southern Africa, according to the website.
The birds have a wingspan of about 3.5 feet and weigh 1.5 pounds.
Attending the raucous Ravens game against the Houston Texans on Sunday was nothing new for Rise and Conquer, but they did need to adjust to the chill in the air, Eveleth said.
"Toward the end of the game, Conquer let me put L.L. Bean hand warmers on his feet," Eveleth said, adding that such cooperation isn't typical behavior for the bird.
Should the Ravens beat the Patriots Sunday, Eveleth, Rise and Conquer will head to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
Even though a chill will likely be in the Indianapolis night air, the stadium has a retractable dome, which if closed, should give Rise and Conquer temperatures more to their liking.
Eveleth cautioned against looking past this weekend, but said Rise and Conquer are ready for the enormous stage of the Super Bowl.
"We're ready to go as soon as they're ready to take us," Eveleth said.
Eveleth has contacted about the Indianapolis Zoo should either Rise and Conquer need veterinarian care while in Indianapolis and has contacted a local hotel about lodging for the three of them.
The birds may also get some rest during the Super Bowl's halftime show.
"They don't care too much for Madonna," Eveleth said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun