Practice had a whole new energy Monday night.
The Ravens took the show on the road to M&T Bank Stadium for the first off-site practice session of training camp, and 28,333 fans attended the free event.
"They were enthusiastic and gave us good crowd noise, and that made it as realistic as possible," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I told the players, 'You're going to get people from all walks of life here, and it's all going to be about kids.'"
Practice had much more excitement than usual, as legendary linebacker Ray Lewis surprisingly returned to the stadium with Owner Steve Bisciotti. Lewis received a huge ovation as soon as he made his way onto the field.
"We all commented when he walked in that he looked very dapper," Head Coach John Harbaugh joked about Lewis, who was dressed in jeans, a hat and jacket. "We don't remember him looking too dapper when he was out here playing football, but he looked great and I had the chance to talk to him. I think the young guys are pretty thrilled."
The Ravens practiced in front of fans and the future Hall of Famer at the stadium Monday night.
Monday was also emotional for running back Ray Rice, who received a warm welcome from the hometown fans when he first jogged onto the field. Rice also received a standing ovation when he was shown on the RavensVision boards before practice started.
From a football standpoint, the Ravens had a sharp practice for their third straight day in pads, and now the players will get their first off day since the start of camp.
Here were some of the other highlights from the practice.
- Wide receiver Torrey Smith made the play of the day with an acrobatic one-handed catch over the middle of the field. Smith hauled in the pass by reaching behind his head to make the snag.
- Steve Smith Sr. had an impressive debut at M&T Bank Stadium. He had a handful of nice catches, including a touchdown snag in the corner of the end zone during individual drills. That catch brought on big cheers from the fans and he played to the crowd with his patented ball spin after making the catch. Later in practice, Smith had a first-down catch and then delivered a hard hit on Asa Jackson in the secondary. There was a bit of a scare late in practice when Smith came up gimpy after cornerback Chykie Brown brought him to the ground trying to break up a pass. Smith limped off the field but then returned a little* * later.
- The pass breakup by Brown was one of several nice plays he had on the day. Brown sat out yesterday's practice because of a tweaked hamstring, but he returned and had one of his better practices. He also broke up another deep pass intended for Smith and a throw to tight end Dennis Pitta.
- A funny moment of practice came when safety Matt Elam intercepted quarterback Joe Flacco and then took off running up the sidelines. The only problem was that Bisciotti was driving his golf cart down the sidelines directly at Elam, and the second-year safety had to jump out of the way. The interception also happened to be Flacco's first of training
- Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro had an impressive run late in practice during goal-line drills. He plowed into the line of scrimmage and pushed into the end zone, showing off his power. He also had another touchdown during the full-team drills.
- Justin Tucker always puts on a show for the home fans. He drilled field goals of 52 and 58 (twice) yards into the wind, and* *also attempted another from 64 yards. The attempt to hit an NFL record 64-yard field goal came up a bit short.
- Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs had another solid practice. He got to quarterback Joe Flacco in the backfield for a sack during the final team drills.
- Veteran tight end Owen Daniels had a solid day of work. He caught a first-down pass over the middle of the field during 11-on-11 drills, and he also initiated a big hit against cornerback Sammy Seamster after making a catch in the flat.
- Quarterback Tyrod Taylor showed off his athleticism in the final series of 11-on-11 drills. He avoided multiple tacklers in his own end zone and then connected with wide receiver LaQuan Williams down the field for a first down.
- Defensive lineman Chris Canty missed his second day of practice because of a family issue, Harbaugh said. Cornerback Lardarius Webb also didn't practice, as Harbaugh said the Ravens are looking into his back injury.
- Harbaugh talked about how the team buses traveled through West Baltimore to get to the stadium, rather than taking the highways from Owings Mills. The reaction from Baltimore fans resonated with Harbaugh. "But we went through a couple of neighborhoods where everybody was outside, they were in the rowhouses, out on their front porches, laughing and having a good time. We drove the buses by and they were going crazy. Kids, women, dads, and it was just a fun deal. For our rookies, especially, to see how much the people of Baltimore care about and love the Baltimore Ravens, it was just a really neat deal."
- Baltimore's fire marshal informed the Ravens that the post-practice fireworks and laser show could not proceed due to high winds.