By Matt Vensel
3:08 PM EDT, June 11, 2013
The small but heavy package arrived in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and was delivered around lunchtime.
Cam Cameron ripped open the package and gazed at his championship ring from Super Bowl XLVII, the one the Ravens went on to win after relieving him of his duties in December. The dazzling ring weighed 380 grams, was encrusted with 243 round-cut diamonds and crafted in 10-karat white gold with yellow highlights.
Without a hint of resentment, the team’s former offensive coordinator who was at times the most-scrutinized man in the Baltimore area, said he appreciated the gesture from the Ravens and their owner, Steve Bisciotti.
“Honestly, it meant a lot,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of the people in Baltimore and obviously the leadership of the Ravens for that gesture. It meant a tremendous amount. It meant a lot to my family.”
The delivery, which did not come as a surprise, was a brief, but welcome interruption from an “exciting time” for Cameron.
Within days of the Ravens' 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, LSU hired Cameron as its offensive coordinator, hoping he could help open up a Tigers offense that ranked 87th in yards per game and 59th in scoring in 2012.
The Tigers are in the middle of summer recruiting. Players are back on campus, many of them taking summer classes. And the coaching staff is preparing a game plan for TCU in the season opener.
“I’m right where I should be,” Cameron said when reached by phone at his on-campus office. “My family has adjusted. This is a great, great, great place. I have great memories from Baltimore and I look forward to having great memories down here as well. It’s all good.”
Cameron said he loves his new players at LSU, saying that “we’ve got a bunch of Torrey Smiths here” and comparing his other high-character players to the likes of Matt Birk and Ray Lewis.
He made another interesting comparison when discussing his tall, strong-armed junior quarterback. That’s right, incumbent starter Zach Mettenberger reminds Cameron of a college-aged Joe Flacco.
“I love Zach. He’s like all LSU quarterbacks. They take a lot of heat. But he’s tough,” Cameron said. “He’s got a similar arm to Joe. I would imagine that he will have one of the stronger arms in college football. He’s got an NFL arm. He’s a sneaky-good athlete. He might go through a similar progression to what Joe went through. He’s really raw. He’s only started here one year. Joe didn’t play a lot of college football. This kid has only played one full year as a starter and he will be our starter this year. He could take a similar path to Joe Flacco. He’s got that kind of ability.”
Today, six months after Ravens head coach John Harbaugh decided the best move for his football team was to replace Cameron with Jim Caldwell, Cameron sounded at peace -- or at least he was doing a good job of swallowing any bitterness. He said that being on the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens is one of the top 10 jobs in all of football, but that LSU is right up there, too.
As for his championship ring, Cameron won’t be hanging on to that -- but it’s not what you think.
Years ago, as Cameron was climbing the coaching ranks, he promised his stepfather, former football coach Tom Harp, he would give his first Super Bowl ring to him. He plans on wrapping it up and putting it back in the mail on Wednesday.
“He’ll get it. I always said the first one of those I ever got, that he would get it,” Cameron said. “He’s 85 years old and he never had one, so he’s got one now.”
He might not be hanging on to it so he has a physical reminder, but Cameron finally got one, too.
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