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The Caw: Team Photographer Tears Achilles, Keeps Shooting

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Ravens Photographer Phil Hoffmann was taken out by Tandon Doss near the end zone.

This is why I’m glad I work in the press box.

We all know football is a hazardous game. But that doesn’t apply to just the players. And they aren’t the only ones who play through pain.

During the third quarter of Sunday’s game, wide receiver Tandon Doss tried to haul in a pass on the edge of the end zone. As he rolled out of bounds on the incompletion (he didn’t get his second foot down), Doss plowed into Ravens Team Photographer Phil Hoffmann.

The hit snapped his monopod. It also tore Hoffmann’s Achilles tendon.

“My initial reaction was, honest to God, that I hope my camera was OK,” said Hoffmann, who has been shooting for the Ravens since the franchise’s inception in 1996 and is also the official photographer for Navy athletics.

“It was, and I thought I was OK. Then I couldn’t put any weight on my foot. I reached down and felt something, and thought I broke my leg. Obviously it wasn’t a broken bone. It was the [rolled up] tendon.”

Hoffmann was tended to by Ravens head orthopedic surgeon Dr. Leigh Ann Curl on the sideline before he limped to the locker room amidst cheers from some fans near the scene. He was fitted for a boot.

Now comes perhaps the most insane part.

Hoffmann returned to the game to keep shooting pictures!

He remained stationary in one corner of the end zone, so he couldn’t capture all the action and required more help from fellow team photographer Shawn Hubbard. But he was still out there snapping away.

“I can’t hurt it worse, right?” Hoffmann said. “What’s done is done. I was never really in much pain. So why not?”

When I chatted with Hoffmann after the game, the first thing out of his mouth was about how great a picture of Doss he got just before the crash (shown at right). Now that’s dedication. And make sure you check out the video our TV crew got of the takeout as well (mobile users tap “View In Browser”).

Hoffmann was laughing about the whole thing after the game as players and staff members came over to shake his hand and wish him well.

“Wishing my guy Phil Hoffman[n] a speedy recovery this game is dangers for all workers.. ,” Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain tweeted.

Hoffmann is scheduled for surgery tomorrow.

“Back for the Browns,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

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