On his walk back to the bus following the Ravens’ White House visit, Head Coach John Harbaugh kept repeating, “That was so cool.”
The Ravens’ Super Bowl run was quite the drama.
When President Barack Obama congratulated them Wednesday, he turned it into a comedy.
After getting a walk-through and posing for pictures in front of the White House, Obama addressed the team from the South Lawn. And he quickly started with the jokes.
“I suspect that these guys are wondering, ‘What kind of introduction is that?’” Obama said, after simply walking to the podium and welcoming the team. “No smoke machine? No fire cannons? Obama didn’t even tear up chunks of turf and rub them on his suit?”
Obama joked with wide receiver
He teased quarterback
“I don’t know about you, Joe, but I think that qualifies as elite,” Obama said. “I think if you keep playing like that, you’re going to challenge [Vice President Joe] Biden for most popular person in Delaware.”
Obama laughed about Ray Lewis’ signature dance, declining an invitation from the linebacker to perform it on stage and asking Lewis to please not rip up the White House lawn.
The president mentioned the departure of Lewis and safety Ed Reed, then seemed to deviate from his notes to bust on Reed’s graying hairline.
“The man’s getting some gray hair though,” Obama said. “I’m not the only one. You’re like an old man, I’m telling you. That makes me feel better.”
The 2012 Ravens, who had a number of jokesters of their own, loved it.
“It was awesome – really awesome,” Reed said. “I saw it coming because he was staring at my hair before he picked on me. I was like, ‘I hope he don’t say nothing.’ He knows where those gray hairs come from with this job here. That’s the job of a safety and the president is the ultimate safety.”
Obama had a few more sentimental moments.
He praised Harbaugh for his pride and humility. He called Ravens Senior Advisor to Player Development O.J. Brigance, who is battling ALS, gritty. He said wideout
“That was one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of ... we need to do it again!!” Smith posted on Twitter.
Harbaugh and Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome gave Obama, the 44th president, a Ravens jersey emblazoned with "MR PRESIDENT" and the number 44.
Obama ended by congratulating the Ravens, then the Chicago-native tossed a jab.
“Best of luck next season,” Obama said. “You’re going to need it in Week 11 when you go to my hometown Chicago to play the Bears.”
Harbaugh responded in turn:
“On behalf of all the Ravens, I want to thank Mr. President for hosting us here today. It’s an unbelievable honor and we are grateful to be here,” Harbaugh said. “And I want you to know we have plans to be back next year.”
The players left Washington D.C., many to see each other again soon at the Ravens Ring Ceremony Friday evening. And they left with a special memory.
“This kind of experience makes you proud of your country and proud of your accomplishments,” Harbaugh said. “It was an incredible honor and makes you feel good that we have people like President Obama working for our country.”