Ravens defensive lineman Patrick Ricard was in the middle of paying tribute to Marvel Comics co-creator Stan Lee on Wednesday when he was interrupted by tight end Maxx Williams. When Ricard informed Williams of the subject of his conversation, Williams said, “Don’t break his heart before practice.”
No tears were shed, but the death of the 95-year-old Lee — who suffered from pneumonia in February — on Monday resonated with several Ravens players, some of whom took to Twitter to honor the man who was responsible for iconic characters such as Iron Man, Spider-Man and the X-Men.
“That one man made so many superheroes. Without him, none of them would be around,” said Ricard, who wore a Star Wars T-shirt before practice. “Just growing up with those superheroes, he made it OK to like superheroes. I couldn’t imagine him making those comics back in the ’60s and ’70s when that stuff was not cool. For one person to do that, he’s had an impact on so many lives. I was sad to see him pass because his cameos in the movies were awesome. I heard he filmed his cameo for Avengers 4, which is cool. He’s just one of those guys that you don’t think will ever pass, and when he does, you’re like, ‘Oh, man.’ Hopefully, his influence will cause more people to make more superheroes.”
Offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor recalled visiting a store in London and paying the American equivalent of about 75 cents for the newest edition of Captain America.
“I was able to get it every Saturday,” he said. “So when I heard he passed away, I was like, ‘Damn.’ That’s a guy who helped me grow in my childhood and let my imagination run wild.”
While meeting the media, quarterback Robert Griffin III wore a Black Panther hat as an homage to Lee.
“Seeing him pass away, I think a lot of kids, a lot of us growing up, lived off of those Marvel flicks,” said Griffin, who showed up to the team’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 28 in a Black Panther mask. “So definitely that, and just Black Panther’s something I’ve kind of taken on the role of this entire year with these guys, and the guys know that I wear the socks at practice and training camp and the hat.
Rookie cornerback Anthony Averett said Lee “was my childhood.”
“I grew up on superheroes and the Marvel characters,” he said. “Me and my friends, we were hurting when we found out. That’s a big deal. He’s a legend, the GOAT [greatest of all time].”
All three players voiced confidence that the Marvel Universe would able to continue without Lee, but added that they would miss his cameo roles in the movies.
As for their favorite characters, Ricard said his top three are Doctor Strange, Iron Man and Spider-Man. Averett mentioned Iron Man, but quickly said that he likes the Avengers as a group.
Eluemunor, however, did not hesitate to name a single favorite superhero.
“The Hulk,” he said. “That’s why my truck is green. I call it The Hulk.”