The Ravens arrived at the Under Armour Performance Center on Saturday morning with the expectation that they would have to pull on their pads for another afternoon practice in the sun.
But midway through a team meeting before the scheduled practice, coach John Harbaugh showed the players a couple of videos of comedian Tracy Morgan to lighten the mood.
As the players watched the clips on the large projection screen in the team auditorium, the former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star suddenly walked into the room. The players went wild, jumping to their feet and cheering.
Wanting to give his players a break after a grueling month of long days filled with training camp practices and lengthy meetings, Harbaugh brought in Morgan to perform for the team. After 20 minutes of non-stop laughter, Harbaugh canceled practice and dismissed the players for the day.
“We usually try to have something interesting and entertaining at the end of training camp, and we had Tracy here today,” Harbaugh said in a statement released by the team. “He entertained the room and had a good message for the players after his performance.”
No players were off limits as Morgan worked the room, including marquee stars such as quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and offensive tackle Michael Oher.
"Shout out to Tracy Morgan!!! Gut busting funny" defensive end Marcus Spears wrote on Twitter.
“Our organization is AWSOME!!! @realtracymorgan did a show for us” tweeted wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Other players, such as fullback Vonta Leach and safety James Ihedigbo, posted photos of themselves with Morgan on Twitter. Rice took a picture with him outside the practice facility before Morgan, who is performing at Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium this weekend, and his entourage departed.
It was the second time Harbaugh surprised players with a day off this summer. On July 24, he canceled an early training camp practice for rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans and took the players, including Flacco, to Gettysburg for the day.
After getting an early dismissal Saturday, the Ravens will return to the practice field Sunday afternoon.