Saunders’ Energy Unmatched

Sixty three-year-old Al Saunders’ often lines up in the secondary to challenge receivers.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, June 10th, 2010 at 11:05 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

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There were no defenders in Demetrius Williams’ sights as he pulled in a pass from Troy Smith and turned upfield.

But beware, 63-year-old Al Saunders was on the prowl. Once Williams slowed his pace, Saunders sprinted from the sideline and attempted to punch out the football from behind.

The well-timed strip is a regular occurrence, as all receivers must keep an eye out for the Ravens’ own Energizer Bunny.

“Is he unbelievable or what?” exclaimed Head Coach John Harbaugh regarding Saunders. “Al’s a marathon-type guy. He’s in great shape.”

Saunders joined the Ravens in 2009 as an Offensive Consultant, essentially remaining behind the scenes to add his insight in the meeting room. Now, Saunders’ role is Senior Offensive Assistant to help Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron form game plans and work with tight ends and receivers.

And, Saunders is apparently in the ball-security business too.

“We’re blessed with a great staff, and I think Al, his addition, last year in the building, this year on the practice field, he’s added a lot to our passing game and to our team, and the energy is tremendous,” Harbaugh continued.

According to an old acquaintance, Saunders hasn’t changed from his younger years, either.

Neal Zoumboukos, a former University of Oregon Assistant Coach and current Oregon Special Assistant to the Athletic Director, went to high school with Saunders at California’s St. Ignatius.

The two recently had a conversation – one of many – about new Ravens tight end Ed Dickson, an Oregon product.

“We spoke not too long ago, and let me tell you, he hasn’t changed a bit since high school,” Zoumboukos said with a laugh. “Obviously, he’s grown up, but that energy was always there. He’s a mile a minute and has a ton of enthusiasm, not just for the game, but for life. I don’t doubt that he’s out there on the field at all.”

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