While Joe Flacco may have officially inked a five-year contract on Monday, the newest Raven always considered himself a signed employee.
Flacco met with general manager Ozzie Newsome and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty at the Best Western in Westminster, Md., to finalize the deal and join his team for the start of training camp.
"This was really a foregone conclusion for me once I got drafted in April," Flacco said. "Everybody's been congratulating me, but I don't really see it as that big of a deal. I knew I was going to be here the first day of camp, I knew I was going to get this contract signed, and I'm just excited to be here, and be out on the practice field and get going."
In a press conference held in the hotel lobby packed with reporters, Newsome credited Moriarty and Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, for ensuring the quarterback would be at McDaniel College for the Ravens' initial practice Tuesday morning.
"This gets him the best opportunity to have the career by him being here today," stated Newsome. "As far as expectations I have of him, I just hope that he can find his way to the practice field tomorrow because this is different than Owings Mills. If we can do that, than we are well on our way."
The 18th-overall selection was committed to quelling any thoughts of a holdout, which has plagued first-round quarterbacks in the past.
Last year, both highly-touted signal callers to go in the opening round - Oakland's JaMarcus Russel and Cleveland's Brady Quinn - remained absent for large parts of their respective team's training camps, and neither could get off the bench for the entire season.
"I just wanted to come in here, and figured I'd be here day one – that's just the way it worked for me," he stated. "My agent knew I wanted to be here, knew I should be here, and the Baltimore Ravens, all of them knew I should be here. I never really thought about it, and I'm just glad to be here."
It was a landmark day for the Ravens, as Newsome also announced that all 10 draft picks would be signed by the time head coach John Harbaugh held a welcome meeting at 5:30 p.m.
"It's important in coach Harbaugh's first year that we have guys here, have them out on the field, and we have them competing so that we can pick the best 53 guys," Newsome pointed out.
Some other quick notes from Monday's press conference with Newsome and Flacco:
- Entering his 31st year in the NFL, Newsome expressed his enthusiasm for this year's training camp with a new-look coaching staff, young quarterback prospects and the potential for a beefed-up offense.
"I'm excited about this training camp with John [Harbaugh] and his staff," Newsome said. "From the way I've seen him run the OTAs and the mini-camp, I'm excited to see what training camp is going to be like.
"I think it is going to be fun from my perspective because I'm just a talent evaluator. I think that I'm going to be given lots of opportunities to evaluate the players on this football team so that we can come up with the best 53 players. This is an exciting day for me."
Of course, there are some other things Newsome thought he could be doing.
"I could be out there playing 18 more holes of golf, but I think that time has passed," he joked. "The way I was playing, I wasn't very good anyway."
- Flacco stated that he didn't feel any added pressure being considered the quarterback of the future in a town that has seen its share of woes under center.
"I'm going to go out there and act like I am, just like everybody else should do," he explained. "I want to go out there and play the way I've always played football, and expect myself to play. I want to go out there and prove to everybody, prove to the coaches most importantly and myself and my teammates that I can play, and obviously at the end of training camp we're going to find out."
- Flacco wandered the halls of the Best Western for much of the morning while waiting for Newsome and Moriarty to arrive. When they finally did around 2:00 p.m., Flacco said he spent so much time writing his name on the lengthy contract that he didn't even pay attention to the actual numbers.
"I really didn't pay attention to it," he joked. "There were so many signatures."
Good thing the Ravens don't have practice today, or the rookie's powerful right arm might be a little sore.
- All rookies, quarterbacks and injured veterans arrived in Westminster Monday, with the rest of the team reporting on Wednesday.