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Baltimore Ravens

Transition to offense taught Harry Swayne importance of attitude

Harry Swayne thought his NFL career was over.

The Ravens director of player development (and former offensive tackle) was drafted in the seventh round (190th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987 as a defensive end. When a coach later suggested he transition to the offensive line, Swayne balked.

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"I thought I was a pretty good defensive end," Swayne said Wednesday. "I couldn't see like he could see. ... All I could hear from my coach was, 'You have failed at defensive line.'"

It was then, Swayne told those in attendance at The Baltimore Sun's High School Athletes of the Year awards ceremony, that he was forced to change his attitude.

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"He was able to tell me ... 'I dont want you to change positions because you failed at defensive end. You have not failed at defensive end,'" said Swayne, who was keynote speaker at the luncheon. "'But you have some particular traits that will prove much more useful and valuable on the other side of the ball.'"

The story has a happy ending. Swayne adjusted his attitude, made the transition to tackle and played a total of 15 seasons in the NFL.

He won three championships as a player, including Super Bowl XXXV with the Ravens. He won a fourth ring as a member of the Ravens front office when the team beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

"You must choose the right attitude," Swayne said. "Attitude, in many ways in the National Football League, is everything."

It was for Swayne.


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