Call it a rite of passage or just an excuse for "boys to be boys," the annual hazing of rookies is an inevitable part of end of Ravens training camp in Westminster. Last Saturday was no different.
One of the first targets was Troy Smith, who was dragged from the field by veterans Gary Stills and Justin Bannan. Bound with tape and covered with baby powder, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner was sprayed with a hose, and then placed in a massive tub of ice water, a traffic cone on his head. As if to remind the rookie how the mighty had fallen, other veterans, led by Ray Lewis, circled around Smith and mugged for photographers with their best Heisman Trophy pose.
Other rookies got similar treatment, including undrafted free agent Edgar Jones, who seemed to have merited his own roll of duct tape for the event. Literally wrapped from head to toe, Jones was spared from being dumped into the water - perhaps because of his 6-foot-3-inch, 263-pound frame. Instead, a team of veterans took the 100-gallon tub of ice water and, with great coordination, poured it over the hapless linebacker.
Additional gaffer tape was used by Terrell Suggs and other veterans as they attached a group of rookies to a goal post and doused them with a variety of sticky liquids, then, and as a courtesy, took a hose to them.
Rookie receiver Damien Linson, looking for help while hopping around like a bunny, his ankles tightly bound, made for a great image that was quite amusing. It was a difficult choice, but my favorite is this image of Jones disappearing in a torrent of water. His best move after having the tub emptied and placed over him was one that does not come naturally to an aggressive football player - simply staying passively where he was and letting the attention move to others about to suffer similar fortunes.