The Ravens are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their Super Bowl XLVII victory in Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. As part of that, the former players will run out of the pregame tunnel to the roar of the crowd again.
For Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes and Justin Tucker, they could run out of the tunnel twice. Ten years later, both are still playing in the NFL and both for the same team. It's both a reunion weekend and gameday for them.
"It is amazing. What a statement, right?" Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
As the best kicker in NFL history, it's not surprising that Tucker is still in the league 10 years after his rookie season ended with the Lombardi Trophy.
Bynes, however, did not expect to make it this long as an undrafted linebacker. He was in his second year when he made the final tackle to clinch the Ravens' Super Bowl victory, but he's built a legacy with many more chapters than that.
Now in his third stint with the Ravens – to go along with seasons with the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals – Bynes is still a starter for the Ravens at 33 years old. He has the fourth-most tackles (25) on the team and he's still playing nearly 60% of the defensive snaps.
"You've been in this league as long as I've been, 'Tuck' has been in, and you're just going year by year, attacking each year, trying to ultimately win a Super Bowl," Bynes said. "And to, obviously, 10 years later, still be here, still be on this team, it's just a blessing in itself."
Harbaugh said members of the 2012 team will attend the Ravens' Saturday walk-through practice with their families. Could there be an impromptu speech to the current team?
"That's kind of organic probably," Harbaugh said with a smile. "An impromptu speech has been known to crop up with some of those guys on that team every now and then, so I think that's a distinct possibility."
The Ravens are encouraging fans to get into M&T Bank Stadium early Sunday to ensure they catch the pre-game festivities and introductions of the 2012 team.
Looming Thursday Night Football Is Weighing on Ravens Roster Decisions
The Ravens' focus is on beating the Cleveland Browns, but they are cognizant of the fact that they'll be playing two games in four days with Thursday Night Football in Tampa Bay on deck.
With Gus Edwards, Tyus Bowser, Rashod Bateman, Justin Houston and others coming back from injuries, Harbaugh said the short turnaround is part of their calculation on who plays and who doesn't.
"Definitely thinking about that," Harbaugh said. "I don't know if it will hold anyone out for one of the other game or not, but that's definitely something that's kind of on my mind in terms of what's the best way to approach it."
Rashod Bateman Feels 'Blessed' to Have DeSean Jackson Join Ravens
The Ravens added another wide receiver to the room with the signing of veteran DeSean Jackson this week.
While Baltimore assesses how much Jackson can provide, the Ravens' top receiver said he's glad to have another playmaker and perspective in the room.
"I'm blessed he's here. He's a veteran, future Hall of Famer; I can learn a lot from that guy," Bateman said. "We love him here, and I know he's going to help this team win. So, we're all looking forward to that – promise you that."
Jacoby Jones Comes Clean on Touchdown Story
It wasn't part of the Super Bowl year, but the storytelling started with Ravens Super Bowl legend Jacoby Jones at Friday's practice.
One of the wildest games in Ravens history was the snow game against the Minnesota Vikings in 2013, in which an NFL record five touchdowns were scored in the final two minutes, seven seconds. Jones' 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was part of that scoring spree and it's one of Harbaugh's favorite stories about the Ravens' Pro Bowl returner.
The Ravens knew it was going to be a short kick and wanted Jones to play it accordingly. But when Harbaugh looked back, he saw Jones distracted near the end zone while talking with somebody in the stands. Harbaugh had to scream to get Jones' attention. Jones ran into position, caught the kick pretty much on the fly, and took off down the sideline for the score.
At the time, Jones had told Harbaugh that he was talking to his mom. Nine years later, Jones finally came clean.
"He was talking to a Vikings fan, and it wasn't very kind words back and forth," Harbaugh said with a laugh. "So, now we know. He said he felt better now that he got it off his conscious."