There is a great deal of emotion involved in the game of football. Fans feel involved even when they are only sitting at home and munching at the trough. This doesn't seem like good common sense, but I accept it as part of the way it is and the way I feel and I think that teams have personalities. While that may be irrational when we consider the way many multi-millionaire players move around from team to team, I think several things contribute to that "personality." The press in a city writes about its home team as a whole, not as individuals. Broadcasters often make references to it as well. I think we all know what I mean by this.
I think the Ravens have established in their 20 years in Baltimore what kind of personality they have. We have had boastful players (Yes, like Ray Lewis) who go out on Sunday and stand behind their boasts. We have our "giant intellects" (such as Jonathan Ogden and John Urschel) who might fool you off the field but play against them and you will find some the fiercest competitors in the NFL. And then we have Steve Smith Sr. The Ravens have had players come to the team at the end of illustrious careers and fit right in and contribute in wonderful ways. I cannot recall a single player coming late in their career to the Ravens who fit like he does. His unique blend of physical and mental toughness with athletic skills to match are nothing compared to the leadership and example he sets for younger players. He's been "playing like a Raven" his entire career, and we must consider ourselves very fortunate that we have been allowed to enjoy his contributions at the end of it. If we are extra lucky, he will decide to play just one more year.
While Steve Smith Sr. had a long and productive career prior to becoming a Raven, I would be very happy if he were considered for inclusion of the "Ring of Honor" at the stadium. It might not be possible, but I wish there were also a way that the whole team could put his number on their helmets or something to signify their respect for his unique contribution and how badly we will miss him in the future ("As Steve Smith Sr. prepares for surgery, Ravens prepare to move on without him," Nov. 2).
Kirk Shriver, Baltimore