The fourth-floor lobby of the Baltimore Convention Center teemed with people -- some 1,200 of them. The doors to the ballroom opened, and folks flooded in, looking for their assigned tables, with chicken lunches and slabs of chocolate cake waiting at each place.
But these football fans weren't here for the eats -- more for the feats of the 2001 Super Bowl champs, at the United Way of Central Maryland's third annual Kickoff Luncheon.
As Ravens owner Art Modell introduced "the star of Hard Knocks," the HBO series on the Ravens, the crowd rose to give head coach Brian Billick a standing ovation. Then Billick took over emcee duties, introducing the 2001-2002 team for the first time since its final cut to 53 players.
Although the Ravens were seated at fans' tables, it was obvious they weren't there for the chicken, either. Most had barely a chance to lift a fork before they were besieged by autograph seekers.
Spotted in the throng: Jim Brinkley, United Way 2001 Campaign chair; Neil Dorsey, Jim Sellinger, Francine Stokes, Mike Waller and J. Scott Wilfong, United Way of Central Maryland board members; Larry Walton, United Way of Central Maryland executive director; Bruce Zwicker, Millennium Chemicals vice president; Bill Brackney, Northrop Grumman vice president; Stuart Bowers, Legg Mason senior vice president; Rachel Novotny, Lucent Technologies operations manager; Dr. Roger Johns, Johns Hopkins Hospital anesthesiology and critical care chair; Frank Miller, American Red Cross Central Maryland Chapter executive director; Ed Duffy, U.S. Treasury Department CPA; Alva Hutchison, American Cancer Society Greater Baltimore regional director; James Williams, U.S. Postal Service equipment operator; Nelson Polun, Merrill Lynch financial consultant; Peta Richkus, Maryland Secretary of General Services; Doug Meyer, American Portfolios senior managing partner; Paul Gleichauf, Howard County General Hospital senior vice president; Susan Burke, Union Memorial Hospital rehabilitation manager; Craig Hudson, American Express travel counselor; Peter Gladstone, Eisner Communications executive vice president; and Jennifer Byrd, Automatic Data Processing Inc. client service representative.
The luncheon raised more than $130,000 for United Way of Central Maryland agencies.