Many of the Ravens chewed gum during the ceremony and seemed to see no reason to shed the pro-athlete image, even though they were at the White House. But others appeared awe-struck by the day.
"This is something special," said Coach Brian Billick. "And in the day of
the jaded athlete, you think they're not interested in this. But they were
into it today."
Ravens kicker Matt Stover acted like a tourist, capturing as much of the
festivities as he could on a video camera.
"I had to get a picture with a fellow Texan," he said of Bush.
Outside linebacker Peter Boulware added that Bush "is the most influential
person in the world, and we had a chance to meet him."
Receiver Brandon Stokley said the White House "was just awesome to see."
A few people were noticeably absent yesterday. Trent Dilfer, who was not
re-signed by the Ravens after quarterbacking the team to its 34-7 Super Bowl
victory over the New York Giants, did not make the trip. Tight end Shannon
Sharpe was also among a handful of no-shows.
The team arrived after a frantic trip. The Ravens were forced to arrange a
caravan of buses, with a police escort, after train service between Baltimore
and Washington was shut down for two-to-three hours yesterday afternoon
because of a downed electrical line near Bowie.(Siragusa, who gets bus sick
easily, made the trip in one of the police cars.)
During the ceremony, Billick framed the ceremony as tagging a final
exclamation point onto a memorable season.
"This is a special moment for us," he said. "Now, we can truly move on and,
hopefully, be here next year."
For those unfamiliar with the Baltimore team, its monster defense and its
Super season, the Bush administration distributed some background information
that said it all.
"The 2000 Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV on January 28, 2001, in
Tampa," the brief statement read.
"The Ravens overcame an offensive slump in October, when they did not score
a touchdown. The team held together to finish as World Champions. The Ravens
became the third wild-card team to win the Super Bowl."
The president moves on to another sport today, though not at the White
House. He's flying to Omaha for the College World Series.
Sun staff writer Brent Jones contributed to this article.