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Ravens report smooth implementation of new NFL bag policy

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Carrying a small purse as well as a clear plastic bag filled with fruit, Ravens fan and Baltimore resident Jessica Dodge said she encountered no problems with the new NFL bag policies implemented by the Ravens on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

"It was fine, it went very well," Dodge said. "I guess everybody knew what was going on."

Under the new NFL rules, fans are only allowed to carry clear plastic or vinyl tote bags as well as gallon-size clear plastic freezer bags or clutch purses. Larger purses and baby bags have been outlawed by the league.

Overall, the Ravens reported a smooth process as they phased in the mandatory NFL policies for the first time.

"It went very well," Ravens vice president of stadium operations Roy Sommerhof said. "We were pleased. I think the people that came to the game took notice and adhered to those policies. We didn't see many bags. We saw a lot of people, women specifically, bringing small clutch bags or clear bags into the stadium. We were very pleased that people got the message. It was fantastic. It's been very smooth so far."

The Ravens sent an email informing fans of the changes and have issued several press releases and also held a press conference at their downtown stadium earlier this week.

"I got an email about it, so I knew what to expect," said Christy Payton of Fredericksburg, Va. "It's a little inconvenient, I guess, because it's hard to hold or fit much into a small purse besides some cash and identification. I guess it's a safety issue."

Team officials hadn't fielded complaints and didn't have to turn back people who showed up at the gates with bags that didn't comply with the rules.

"There was very little of that," Sommerhof said. "They were prepared. Most of them came with small clutch bags and the clear plastic bags. A couple of our sponsors were giving away clear plastic bags."

Sommerhof also reported a steady flow of people through the gates.

"It was excellent," Sommerhof said. "We have fewer people here for this than a regular-season game. That went very well. We're going to make a few tweaks here and there for the next game, because the signs look very similar."

awilson@baltsun.com

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