By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
9:08 PM EDT, April 19, 2013
Craning his neck sideways, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco smiled as he avoided bumping his head on a large menu behind the register at the Dairy Queen in Rosedale.
Instead of delivering touchdown passes, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player handed out ice cream sundaes Friday afternoon. Admittedly, Flacco did so with much less confidence than he normally displays in the Ravens' backfield.
“Oh geez, I realized the sign was probably a little too low for me where all the meals are,” said Flacco, the $120.6 million man who took orders at the drivethru window from several surprised customers. “It's definitely not my thing. I would not be very good. If you were ordering sundaes from me and I was the one making them, you wouldn't be very happy with the Dairy Queen. Thank God that's not the case.”
If Flacco lacked fast-food service skills, it was understandable. The native of Audubon, N.J., has only held one job in his life: NFL quarterback.
“I never had a job,” Flacco said. “My first job was quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. I never had any experience with this, so that's why I'm not very good at it.”
Flacco didn't fumble any food, though.
After his stint behind the counter, Flacco spent time with the family of the late Glenelg student Matthew Cheswick, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2012. Flacco and Dairy Queen presented a $25,000 check to the Matthew J. Cheswick Memorial Fund, which the family formed to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
“I had the opportunity to have a little bit of fun and get to meet them and support them,” Flacco said. “They seem like a great family.”
For Flacco, it was another moment for him as an increasingly high-profile public figure, including appearances on the David Letterman show and at Fashion Week in New York. He was even followed around by TMZ paparazzi at BWI Airport.
“Yeah, that's crazy stuff,” Flacco said. “It was really awkward. I don't like being put in awkward situations, so it was a little uncomfortable.”
Flacco hasn't been fazed by how much the roster has been overhauled since defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl behind his three touchdown passes.
“All the turnover we've had, that's just the name of the game,” Flacco said. “You're not really surprised by anything. We've lost a lot of good players, but I think the guys we've gotten are pretty good also.”
And although the Ravens' season opener is on the road against the Denver Broncos instead of the NFL following the usual tradition of the reigning champions opening at home — thanks to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, — Flacco didn't gripe about the situation.
“It's crazy, it's just one of those things that happens,” Flacco said. “I'm not really too upset about it. It's my job to just react and go play.”
Flacco has agreed to portray the late Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas in the final action scenes of a movie about the Hall of Fame quarterback called “Unitas We Stand.”
Flacco got caught in the middle of a family feud between relatives from Unitas' first and second marriage, blindsided by critical remarks from Unitas' son and grandson.
“I'm not worried about that,” Flacco said. “I'm just honored to be asked to do it. I'm not going to let that affect me. Obviously, he's a Baltimore legend. It's pretty cool to come here and win the same way he was able to win a little bit. I'm just doing action shots, nothing out of my comfort zone.”
Meanwhile, Flacco's wife, Dana, is expecting their second child in September.
“She's doing OK,” Flacco said. “I'll be at the hospital if I can, but not if it's on Sunday.”
With former Pro Bowl blocker Bryant McKinnie still unsigned, the Ravens' left tackle situation remains unsettled heading into the NFL draft. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Kelechi Osemele would probably be the left tackle if the season began today.
Flacco expressed confidence in Osemele, who lined up at left guard and right tackle as a rookie last season after being an All-Big 12 selection at Iowa State where he started at left tackle for three seasons.
“I have confidence in all those guys,” Flacco said. “K.O. is a great talent, I think he's got all the ability in the world. If that's what happens, then it is what it is and I have confidence in him. I don't really know what's going to happen. Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll be comfortable with it.”
Unlike two years ago when Flacco was asked to watch tape of college receivers and he recommended Indiana receiver Tandon Doss, a fourth-round draft pick from Indiana who caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown last season, the quarterback says he hasn't been consulted by the personnel department this spring about wide receiver draft prospects.
“Not so much this year,” Flacco said. “I think there's a couple of guys they're interested in and if they happen to fall to that point, then we'll go get them. It's all up to those guys. I trust them.”
The Ravens traded former Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick when they were unable to reach a compromise on a contract dispute.
Former University of Maryland standout Torrey Smith is the Ravens' top returning wide receiver, but Jacoby Jones, Doss and David Reed's roles are expected to increase.
"I think we have a great group," Flacco said. "I think they're doing nothing but getting better. I think we'll see a couple of young guys really step up and have a big impact on what we do this year, and I'm excited about it."
Flacco said he doesn't plan to advise tight end Dennis Pitta about pending contract negotiations. Pitta is a
restricted free agent assigned a one-year, $2.023 million second-round tender whom the Ravens have stated they want to sign to a long-term deal.
"I'm pretty sure he knows what to do and his agent is giving him plenty of advice," Flacco said. "The last person he needs to hear it from is me."