Ravens kicker Justin Tucker converts a 61-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun /December 16, 2013)
Haruki Nakamura is one of three Ravens players who hail from Ohio. But that doesn’t mean that the free safety, who is a Cleveland native, gets any special treatment when he and the rest of the team visit Cleveland Browns Stadium – as they do Sunday.
“When I got drafted [in the sixth round in 2008], I was getting all sorts of crap from my friends from Cleveland,” Nakamura said with a smile. “I can’t win in Baltimore as far as my family goes. My mom tells me that she’ll cheer for me, but she won’t cheer for the Ravens because she’s a Browns fan. So that’s what I deal with when I go home.”
Wide receiver Lee Evans, a native of Sandusky, and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney, a native of Dayton, are the other Ravens players who grew up in Ohio. Even though his father and brother are “diehard” Browns fans, McKinney said his family is very supportive of the Ravens – for one obvious reason.
“They want us to win because they want to go to a Super Bowl,” McKinney said, laughing. “They want us to go as far as possible, so of course they want us to win.”
Asked if his father and brother felt weird about rooting for an AFC North rival, McKinney replied, “There’s no conflict of interest at all. If it’s the Ravens, they’re like, ‘Alright. We’re with it.’”