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Last night while listening to the Adalius Thomas show I had this sinking feeling that maybe I was listening to AD as a Raven for the very last time. It felt in many ways like saying goodbye to a friend not knowing if or when you might see each other again.

During the show, AD’s wife Sheri spoke briefly about their lives upon arriving in Baltimore. She said that they came into town in cars from college and they rented an apartment. Now their standard of living has improved, paralleling the plight of AD’s career. Yet she was quick to give AD credit saying that despite his success, he has remained the same grounded man throughout, unspoiled by riches and accolades.

AD is not only an exceptional athlete, he’s an exceptional human being. It’s rare that we get to experience first hand in these modern times, a player as gifted and as humble as AD. His is the consummate teammate, leader, community spokesperson and activist. On and off the field, his shoes are too big to fill. His departure would leave a gaping hole in Baltimore.

Yet we know the NFL to be a business. Its employees remind us all too often. And in this age of the salary cap, it is very possible that last night’s show was AD’s last. The Ravens would love to keep him but they might not be able to afford him.

Couldn’t he make money in other ways outside of the Ravens? Couldn’t he become the local spokesperson for Under Armor or Legg Mason or Alex Brown or Johns Hopkins or Black & Decker or McCormick Spice or all of the above? And couldn’t the value of such endorsements offset the hometown discount that might enable AD to stay?

Hey, what is Bubba Smith’s law firm doing these days for a spokesperson?

Can’t the Ravens force all new incoming players to buy their new homes through Sheri Thomas who is a real estate agent? That might help, right?

Business is business and AD has to take care of his. Whatever he does, naturally we wish him well. How could we not? We just wish it could be here in Baltimore.

They don’t build them like No. 96 any more.

Let’s hope the Ravens realize that and find a way…

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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