Former Ravens kicker Matt Stover addressed scholarship recipients at M&T Bank Stadium on Friday, emphasizing integrity and a willingness to work.
The Baltimore Community Foundation, a philanthropic non-profit that give scholarships to local high school and college students, organized the event in a suite at the stadium.
"BCF and the Ravens do such a good job of giving back to the kids," Stover said. "Giving $5,000 a year to each one of these kids is an amazing amount of money, and to be able to do that year in, year out is incredible."
The foundation gave a total of $169,500 to 66 Maryland students Friday. According to a news release, that amount is a 50 percent increase compared to last year's total.
Towson University music education senior Jay Karolenko, who won the Christa McAuliffe scholarship, said he is a huge Stover fan and having him there was special. The scholarship, worth $1,250, is designated for aspiring teachers.
"I'm a big fan. I went to his kicking camp when I was in eighth grade," Karolenko said. "He speaks very genuinely and really cares about our community."
Stover told stories of his days as a Raven and how they apply to everyday life. He regaled the students with an anecdote of his first experiences with former Ravens coach Brian Billick in the 1999 season, when he started the season 5-for-10 on field goals.
Stover said he approached Billick and told the coach to advance the ball to the 30-yard line — which equates to a 48-yard field goal — and he wouldn't miss again.
He went on to make his next 18 attempts.
"Doing what's right, taking responsibility was part of what made me successful," Stover said.
Stover, who also runs his own foundation, was one of a few choices available for team president Dick Cass to select as speaker. With the NFL lockout, players are not allowed to communicate with their respective teams.
Stover retired from the NFL last week.
"I'm the only one standing," Stover said. "Dick and I had seen each other last week at my retirement and we had talked a few weeks before that [about doing this]."
Stover, who was a rookie in 1990 when the league had a work stoppage, said he's not too worried about the players and owners coming to a labor agreement.
"To tell you the truth, it's going to work out," Stover said. "There will be football in 2011."
The Baltimore resident still has a busy schedule, even if it's drastically different from the day-to-day slate of an NFL player. All three of his children — Jenn, 15, Jacob, 14, and Joe, 8 – attend McDonogh, where Stover sits on the board.
"Everybody asks me 'Are you bored yet? Has your wife kicked you out of the house?' Not even close. I've been plenty busy," Stover said. "I know I have a social responsibility with things like this and that's what I plan on doing.
"It's a lot, but life is full. I wouldn't have it any other way."