The Ravens are all about family.
That was put on full display Wednesday night as the franchise celebrated the careers of two of the organization's longest-tenured employees.
Equipment manager Eddie "Eddo" Carroll retired after 23 years with the franchise and head trainer Bill Tessendorf (Tess) retired after 38 years. Both men had been with the Ravens since the franchise started and moved with the team from Cleveland. [Carroll officially retired earlier this offseason and Tessendorf retired before the 2011 season.]
"Those guys were just institutions here, Ed and Bill," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "You watch them work, and the way they relate to the players, you understand why. Those two guys cared deeply about the players. The relationships they had with the players are as good as you are ever going to see."
The Ravens held a retirement party for Carroll and Tessendorf at the team's facility, which brought back a number of former players, coaches and staff members who played and worked for the Ravens and Browns.
Guests included Steve Bisciotti, Art Modell, John Harbaugh, Jonathan Ogden, Tony Siragusa, Brian Billick, Ozzie Newsome, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Haloti Ngata, Matt Stover and Bernie Kosar.
Modell, Newsome, Ogden, Siragusa, Lewis, Kosar and Ravens Senior Vice President of Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne all spoke during the event.
"It was a great night and I was pretty well shocked to have everybody there, guys from Baltimore, guys from Cleveland," Carroll said. "I'll remember that for the rest of my life."
Since retiring, Carroll has spent some time relaxing and also caring for his wife, who had surgery about three months ago. He also had back surgery last year and struggled with the physical demands of the job, and he wanted to spend more time with his family.
"People always told me that you'll know when it's time, and I knew it was time," Carroll said. "Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I was just exhausted. The time was right."
Carroll and Tessendorf were two of the most well-respected people within the organization and around the league, as a number of players talked about how much they meant to them while they were playing.
"Those guys really helped me out a lot," former wide receiver Derrick Mason said Monday during his retirement press conference Monday. "There were times where maybe I couldn't go, they made sure in the morning that I had what I needed and was able to go out there and practice, and I had what I needed to go out there and play.
"You became more or less their children in a sense. I know Bill is not that old, but you became children to them in a sense because they had to take care of you."