Jamison Hensley says goodbye to his hometown newspaper

It’s hard to think of my life without The Sun in it.

I delivered The Sun when I was a kid in Northeast Baltimore. I answered phones for it when I was a college student. I covered the Ravens for it for over half of my adult life.

Now, in this blog, I am saying goodbye to it. Today is my final day covering the hometown team for my hometown newspaper. It’s time for a change and new challenges as I move on to ESPN.com.

I’ve grown so much as a reporter and a person here. I joined the newsroom as a part-time editorial assistant for sports in 1993, when I was a 20-year-old student at the University of Maryland.

When I was promoted to reporter at The Sun in 1998, my sports editor at the time, Molly Dunham, asked me about my goals. I simply had one – to be the Ravens beat reporter. When she didn’t laugh at that, I thought I might be onto something.

In my 11 years of covering the Ravens -- from the shutout at Pittsburgh to open the 2000 season to the rout of the Steelers on Sunday – I strived every day to provide the best NFL coverage in the country. I feel extremely lucky to have helped chronicle the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl championship, the Hall of Fame careers of Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis’ pursuit of the rushing record in 2003 and the team’s latest three-year playoff run.

Some of the most memorable times were the ones that surprised me. Imagine the look on my face when 360-pound defensive lineman Sam Adams cursed me out in the locker room when I asked him about his offside penalty back in 2000 or when owner Steve Bisciotti called me late in the night to make a public statement on the draft-day trade fiasco with the Chicago Bears.

Covering an NFL beat isn’t really a job. It becomes your life. When Joe Flacco signed his rookie contract in July 2008, a source texted me the news while I was on a first date in Canton. I had to place the laptop computer on the dinner table and write the article. Somehow, three years later, that date became my wife.

While I will still be involved with the Ravens in my new endeavors, the team I will miss the most is the one that covered the team. The support, encouragement and advice from my Sun colleagues – Mike Preston, Ken Murray, Edward Lee and Peter Schmuck – can never be repaid.

Many thanks go to my readers and to my co-workers, whom I’m proud to call my friends.

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