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The Ravens are among a group of 14 NFL teams that have received government funds through promotional military contracts over the past four years.

The Ravens have received $884,500 during that span, the second-most of any NFL team, according to a report from NJ.com citing federal contracts and stating that the Department of Defense spent a total of $5.4 million with NFL teams. The majority of the money has been purchased through the National Guard. The Atlanta Falcons received over $1 million, the most of any NFL team. And the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills have all received more than $500,000, per the report.

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NFL teams, including the New York Jets, have blocked out time at home games where soldiers were thanked for their service or featured on the Jumbotron in addition to being given tickets to games. Arizona senator Jeff Flake was critical of the arrangement, telling the website: "Those of us go to sporting events and see them honoring the heroes. You get a good feeling in your heart. Then to find out they're doing it because they're compensated for it, it leaves you underwhelmed. It seems a little unseemly."

Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne wrote in an email: "We don't make public our contracts with sponsors and/or suite holders. I can tell you that in our agreements with the National Guard there is no mentioning of honoring the military or individual soldiers."

The Ravens regularly invite military personnel to attend practices and coach John Harbaugh won the Salute to Service award for his support of the military.

Harbaugh has been a strong supporter of the the U.S. military, including going on an NFL-USO coaches' tour of the Middle East in 2009.

He has visited several military bases, bought school supplies for children whose parents are serving in the military overseas and put together care packages for troops serving abroad.

Harbaugh started an annual Military Appreciation Day during training camp and invites wounded warriors as his guests to every home game.

Three years ago, he won the Outstanding Civilian Service Award. It was presented to him by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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