On Tuesday, the Ravens placed wide receiver Brandon Stokley on Injured Reserved, ending his season, and possibly his career. If I may, I’d like to take a moment to recognize #80.
Listen, I know that Stokley is not a Hall-of-Famer or even a Pro-Bowl player. But I’m a huge fan.
Stokley was drafted by the Ravens out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the 4th round (105th pick overall) in the 1999 NFL draft. He was a memorable part of the 2000 Ravens team that won the Super Bowl, as he caught the first touchdown of the game, which was a 38-yard TD reception in the first quarter. He then went on to be a reliable receiver for Peyton Manning as he played 4 seasons with the Colts, and 3 seasons with the Broncos. This past August, he came back to the Ravens on a 1-year deal. He has 13 catches for 115 yards this season in 6 games.
In his 15-year career, Stokley only played a full season six times. He has 397 career catches for 5,339 yards and 39 touchdowns. His most important career stat is that over his career he’s averaged 13.4 yards per catch. That stat was one of the reasons I was so excited the Ravens signed him at the start of this season. After losing Boldin, I thought Stokley was a great signing. He has very reliable hands and knows how to move the chains. In his limited action this year, he has done just that.
He suffered a concussion Sunday against the Vikings, and Ravens did the right thing by placing him in IR, ending his season. It was Stokley’s 14th diagnosed concussion in his 15-year career. Hopefully, Stokley will make the smart decision and retire before he does any more damage to his body.
I have always liked the smaller, scrappy type players in sports. That’s why I’m a big Brian Roberts fan in baseball. In football, I’ve been a fan of Qadry Ismail, Jermaine Lewis, Priest Holmes, Derrick Mason, Dennis Pitta, and Brandon Stokley.
During the Ravens Super Bowl season of 2000, I attended a game at Ravens Stadium and bought a #80 Stokley purple jersey. Even when he left the Ravens, I followed his career and was happy for him with his success. When they re-signed him this year, I went nuts… wearing my Stokley jersey every Sunday, including at the Thanksgiving night game against the Steelers.
For a 4th round selection from a school that’s not a powerhouse football school, Stokley has had a nice career. If he does call it a career, I just hope he is able to be healthy enough to enjoy his retirement.
Thanks #80 for your hard work and dedication to football and to Baltimore.
Your touchdown catch in the Ravens/Giants Super Bowl is a highlight I’ll never forget.