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It was a meeting of the football minds at Ravens training camp on Friday, as Manchester City Football Club joined their Baltimore counterparts on the field after morning practice.
Man City, a highly-touted team in the Barclay’s (English) Premier League, is slated to take on Inter Milan this weekend at M&T Bank Stadium. The European visitors watched practice clad in purple and white Ravens hats, and then mingled with the players afterwards.
Trevor Pryce, who plays in a semi-pro soccer league during the offseason as part of his conditioning, was itching to scrimmage with the real professionals.
“If I didn’t have practice later, I sure would,” Pryce said. “I’d love to kick it around with them. Seeing that stuff up close is even more impressive. This is too cool. It kind of got me through practice. I was looking forward to it.”
Linebacker Ray Lewis joined in the fun, showing off his juggling skills with the soccer balls that made their way onto the field, and safety Ed Reed chatted with the Man City players for more than 40 minutes.
Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff was holding somewhat of a clinic, as well. Cundiff was joined by several soccer players at midfield and held footballs as they effortlessly booted 45- to 50-yard field goals.
“It wasn’t too bad,” said Man City’s Ben Mee, who said he’s seen the Super Bowl and a few American football games on Sunday nights. “I’d never kicked one with that type of football. We play rugby back home, so I guess that’s a lot like it. But we have a tee, not a holder, and the ball is a little different.”
Of course, the trajectory was so low that the field goals barely got above the crossbar and could have been blocked at the line of scrimmage, but the kicking talent was obvious.
“I don’t care who you are, just walking on the field and kicking a 50-yard field goal in street shoes isn’t easy,” Cundiff said with a laugh. “These guys are so talented. The ball has been on their foot since they were little, so you could ask them to kick it directionally, corner kick, a little draw. It’s impressive.”