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Although they couldn't stop him because of the labor situation, they couldn't possibly want one of their key defensive players mixing it up and risking an injury.
Well, it turned out they didn't mind. Owner Steve Bisciotti thought it was so "awesome" that he wanted to lead "Tommy Z" into the ring. And while Head Coach John Harbaugh was slightly more circumspect, saying Zbikowski told him before the lockout "there was no risk of injury so I guess I'll have to take him at his word," he didn't sound upset.
Their tacit backing of Zbikowski is only appropriate, considering how much he is doing for their franchise, however unwittingly, in the midst of a pro football crisis.
Amid the daily onslaught of blah-blah reports from the labor front, Zbikowski is actually competing, giving fans in Baltimore something to follow and get excited about. Just like the old song said, Saturday nights are for fighting!
While teams elsewhere fret about their fans dozing off at the news of lawyers exchanging briefs, the Ravens are actually polishing their image as one of the NFL's toughest teams thanks to Zbikowski.
They should be thrilled he is out there battling in trunks with purple trim, offering an upbeat distraction from the sobering reality that pro football has hit the pause button. Few other teams are getting such positive P.R.
Sure, there's an injury risk, but you can get hurt jogging through a drill, as Domonique Foxworth did last summer on the eve of training camp. If I'm the Ravens, I'm glad to see a player conditioning so hard. Zbikowski is in South Florida, a land of distractions, but he's not exactly smoking cigars and cruising around in a big-finned Cadillac until 3 a.m. He's working out feverishly, saying he wants to keep training and fighting.
This is one guy the Ravens don't have to worry about showing up 30 pounds overweight if and when football resumes.
Want to read more ?John Eisenberg