Ravens, Colts assemble for big autograph show

Street Talk Ravens, Colts assemble for big autograph show

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TOWSON — Summoned by an ambitious confluence of professional football and nostalgia, thousands of fans swarmed Towson University on Saturday for a massive autograph show.

Featuring a total of nearly 80 players from the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV championship team and the Baltimore Colts’ Super Bowl V victors, "Five Thirty-Five," spanned two gridiron generations.

Shortly after middle linebacker Ray Lewis, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, running back Jamal Lewis, quarterback Trent Dilfer, offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo, linebackers Jamie Sharper and Adalius Thomas, defensive end Michael McCrary, cornerback Chris McAlister and several others departed the Towson Center with numb hands after delivering hundreds of signatures, a parade of former Colts arrived.

Billed as the largest autograph show ever, it’s actually regarded by industry experts as one of the biggest of the past decade.

It also acted as a reunion for the Ravens’ Super Bowl teams as well as members of the Colts’ 1958 NFL championship team. Plus, current Ravens like linebacker Bart Scott and offensive tackle Adam Terry attended the event.

"It was great to see the guys from our team and to meet some of the old Colts," former Ravens center Mike Flynn said. "It kind of brings everything full circle. Plus, it’s fun to reminisce and tell stories. It brings back a lot of memories to see everybody again."

Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis’ autograph was the most expensive to obtain, priced at $85, with most players signing for $10 to $25. 

Sponsored by Alumni Management Group, a local sports agency whose vice president is former Ravens offensive lineman Spencer Folau, a portion of the proceeds went toward Fourth & Goal, a national organization that benefits retired NFL players.

"Being here brings back a flood of memories," former Ravens punter Kyle Richardson said. "You see a lot of guys and faces, people you hadn’t thought about or seen in a while and you totally disconnect. Now, we kind of got the reconnect.

"Most of us are retired, although a couple of guys are still going at it. It was good to hang out and tell some stories."

Long lines formed as fans clamored to get autographs from legendary former Colts like Bubba Smith, Lenny Moore, Alex Hawkins, Lou Michaels, Tom Matte, Ray Chester, Ordell Braase, Lydell Mitchell, Mike Curtis, Jim Mutscheller and Earl Morrall.

Brandishing helmets, photographs, pennants, T-shirts and baseball caps, fans hustled back and forth to get their memorabilia immortalized. 

"We’ve had a great time because it really brings together two generations of football in Baltimore," Matte said. "What makes it nice is the guys that are playing today are looking at us as the guys before them who paved the way.

"And we’re looking up at them and we’re saying, ‘We wouldn’t be making the team today.’ Everybody had a fantastic time, Ravens and Colts included."

For Jamal Lewis, a rookie on the Ravens’ championship squad and a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year now playing for the Cleveland Browns, the weekend triggered a lot of memories.

"It brings you back to the camaraderie that we had in that locker room, the way we pulled together during tough times," Lewis said. "We accomplished the one goal we set out during training camp: to win the Super Bowl."

NOTES: McAlister said that he didn’t have to undergo surgery for a sprained knee that forced him on to injured reserve, predicting that he’ll be able to participate in offseason minicamp. "It wasn’t a minor thing, but with a lot of rehab I’ve been able to bounce back without having surgery," he said. "I’ll definitely be running around at minicamp." … Among the other former Ravens in attendance: fullbacks Sam Gash, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, Chuck Evans and Alan Ricard, cornerback James Trapp, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Chris Redman, tight end Ben Coates, wide receiver Brandon Stokley, defensive tackle Larry Webster, wide receivers Qadry Ismail and Patrick Johnson, defensive end Rob Burnett, linebacker Brad Jackson, offensive lineman Kipp Vickers, safety Anthony Mitchell, return specialist Jermaine Lewis and running back Musa Smith.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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