What a morning at Ravens training camp. With Snoop Dogg on the sidelines, it was pretty nuts.
As per usual, practice was very well run, but when Snoop Dogg, the legendary hip hop artist that is a friend of Ray Lewis', walked out with his entourage of four nattily-dressed sidekicks, the buzz was undeniable.
Snoop is very knowledgeable about the basics of football. He called out a few players for not running crisp routes and was intently watching the quarterbacks.
In between drills, some players would amble to him and offer a handshake or a head nod.
When practice ended, head coach John Harbaugh gave a quick pep talk, and then called in his special guest to the huddle. Snoop looked at Lewis and received a little instruction before belting out, "Any dogs in the house?!" It was an homage to Lewis's typical pre-game routine.
After that, Snoop joined Frank Walker and Domonique Foxworth on some post-practice ladder drills. For those that don't know, the ladder is basically a grid that lays on the ground and players have to show off their footwork while stepping through it.
Walker gave Snoop three drills to try, and the musician was credible in all of them.
"I was just working on my footwork," Snoop said. "I've got my Chuck Taylors on now, but I still know I can perform well. The DBs were trying to show me a few moves, but I had to show them a few moves."
Snoop then went to the microphone to speak with the media. Lewis introduced his friend, who is in town for the Blazed and Confused Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Aug. 5.
"We've been good friends for a long time," the linebacker said. "We're coming out here and trying to work together. He showed some DBs some foot drills. He's got his little league team and all that, so I'll introduce y'all to our new coach, Mr. Snoop Doggy Dog."
Snoop is actually a youth football coach that runs a youth football league in California. He offered his assessment of the Ravens from his coaches' point of view.
"I've seen a lot of great athletes out there, offense and defense," he said. "There are some things I need to work on, but we look like we can pretty much get there this year."
Even though Dogg is a staunch Pittsburgh Steelers fan, he has respect for the Ravens/Steelers rivalry.
"This is like a heavyweight boxing match every time I seem them play," he said. "This was a chance for me to see them live and in high-definition. It's real cool to be able to come out here see them go to war and battle against each other. When it comes to game time, you know how the preparation is so serious."
And, he had some good words about No. 52.
"Ray is one of the greatest linebackers to ever play the game," Snoop said. "I love his story, his enthusiasm for the game. It's inspirational to see how this whole team turns the level up and becomes dogs. They're nasty. I love it.
"I just feel like being a Raven is like being like Snoop Dogg. You [are] a target at all times."
At the end of the day, the Ravens – from the players to the coaches – were excited for the legendary rapper.
In an arena where football personalities can grow to be larger than life, No. 52 and the D-O-double-G brought two worlds together.
"From what I understand he's a coach, he coaches some little league football teams and everything," said Harbaugh with a laugh. "He had some insight into our receiver situation [that] he wanted to share, and so we took a couple notes.
He continued: "Those guys are all football fans, so it's fun having them out there.