Rookies Welcomed To M&T Bank Stadium

A crowd of 24,078 fans was a good way to introduce the Ravens’ rookies to M&T Bank Stadium.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Categories: 2011 Training Camp, Mike Duffy

With 24,078 fans attending Saturday’s open practice at M&T Bank Stadium, there was no time for the Ravens’ rookies to shy away from the spotlight.

And at the end of the three-hour session, the excitement of playing in what could be their home field for many years was palpable.

“I’ve only been to one NFL game, and it was at this stadium,” said quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a sixth-round draft pick. “It was amazing to come back here and practice on the field. I heard the fans are very supportive, and hopefully we can give them some wins.”

Wideout LaQuan Williams might have had the best day out of the rookies. He certainly garnered the most cheers of the group.

In the middle of the three-hour session, Williams sprinted to the end zone as the clock wound down, looking up at quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s desperation heave.

When the rookie free agent leapt high above Mana Silva and came down with the touchdown, the 24,078 fans in attendance cheered wildly.

For the Baltimore native and University of Maryland product, it was a perfect way to be welcomed into the NFL.

“It was amazing to play here, the stadium I’ve seen for so many years,” Williams said as he signed autographs. “My family came out today, so it was great to make some plays in front of them.”

It was a similar experience for running back Walter Sanders, another Baltimorean. The free agent from St. Augustine’s said he had visions of playing at M&T Bank Stadium for a long time.

“It’s a blessing. Last summer, I trained downtown in Federal Hill, and I would look over and see the M&T Bank Stadium sign,” Sanders said. “I told my mom and everybody that I wanted to play there. Now, it’s a whole new year and I’m here. I just give thanks to God.”

Second-round draft pick Torrey Smith said the practice wasn’t too much different than playing in college, but that is probably because of the familiar crowds at Terrapins games.

“I saw a lot of familiar faces out there,” Smith said with a smile. “I can tell how these fans are here. I can’t wait for the real games. This was just a practice.”

Still, the session did give the rookies an idea of what dedication means to Ravens fans.

“The atmosphere and environment was live,” said the first-round cornerback Jimmy Smith. “The guys told me that these fans are the best and they love their Ravens.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,