Sunday was never about the ice cream for Eric Weddle. The Ravens veteran was playing for a win over the Cleveland Browns, for an AFC North title and a return to the playoffs, for a cool $1 million bonus.
But after a heart-racing 26-24 victory at M&T Bank Stadium, conversation around the Pro Bowl safety’s locker again turned to sweet treats. Weddle’s wife, Chanel, had purchased 3 gallons of his favorite ice cream, Baskin-Robbins’ Icing On The Cake, days before, and he recalled her saying, “You’ve been waiting for this all season.” (It wasn’t immediately clear whether that was in reference to the ice cream or the playoffs.)
Weddle swore he would “go to town tonight” on the ice cream, and hours later tweeted a photo of his newest decadent concoction.
But still, there was work to be done — not just in the playoffs, where the Ravens will face the Los Angeles Chargers in Baltimore on Sunday, but in seeing a fan’s extravagant promise through.
After the Ravens’ Week 15 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Weddle shared his typical celebratory ice cream photo. A Twitter user and Ravens fan, @AmMawk, asked him what his ice cream plans would be for a Super Bowl win. No response. He tried again: “Eric I’ll buy you an ice cream truck if we win the division pin this.” The last two words amounted to a plea to have Weddle “pin” the tweet atop his Twitter feed.
Weddle didn’t completely understand. But at least now he was paying attention.
“Dont know what that means pinning it but I will save this,” he replied.
When a reporter mentioned the tweet to Weddle on Sunday night, he hadn’t forgotten. Defensive backs are supposed to have short memories. Not in this case.
“Oh, yeah, I'm going to look that up,” he said. “I liked [the tweet], so I'm going to find it and I'm going to reach out to him and see if he's a man of his word or not. I'm going to figure it out real quick, but believe me, I've thought about it. And it's in my back pocket.”
The Twitter user and promise maker is a Maryland native and Annapolis resident. In a conversation Sunday night with The Baltimore Sun, Cameron Smith, 26, said he would be attending the Ravens’ wild-card-round playoff game, and that opportunity perhaps surprised him more than any other development of the past two weeks.
When he tweeted at Weddle, the Ravens still trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers by a half-game in the AFC North. To win the division, they would likely need to beat the Chargers, then the AFC’s hottest team, and the Browns — and have the Steelers fall to the New Orleans Saints or Cincinnati Bengals.
“I thought their chances of winning the division were low, mostly because I never expected the Steelers to fall off like they did,” Smith wrote.
But in Week 16, the Ravens upset the Chargers in Carson, Calif., and the Steelers lost a late lead to the Saints. A week later, the Ravens were celebrating their first AFC North title since 2012 and Smith was looking at just how expensive an ice cream truck would really be.
He was not optimistic that he could furnish one quickly, though he was open to the idea of crowdfunding the venture. He said he's considering buying a used ice cream truck; he found a few on sale for about $3,000. Those "could be attainable," he said, but he was skeptical they'd be in good enough shape.
“It might take a while to save it all up, but hopefully I’ll get there eventually!” he wrote.
He did not seem to regret the tweet. Actually, he wrote, “I believe it helped out some.” But a promise is a promise. The Ravens won the division. So where was the ice cream truck?
Late Sunday night, two weeks, two wins and an AFC North title after Smith first piqued his interest, Weddle returned to the tweet.
“Sooooooooooooooooooo?????” he asked, almost hopefully. He’d pinned the tweet for his 100,000 followers.