*Each week leading up to a Ravens home game, a different Baltimore Football Alumni member checks-in with BaltimoreRavens.com. Be sure to continue to check back throughout the 2009 season to see what your favorite BFA members have been up to. ***View Past "Where Are They Now?" Features »**
Name: Howard Stevens
Team: Baltimore Colts
Position: Running back / Return specialist
Years Played in Baltimore: 1975 – 1977
After your playing career in Baltimore was complete, what did you do?
I went into financial services. In 1979, I started working for a company that eventually became a subsidiary of Citi Group. I worked there for six years, then went into financial services on my own for a long time. Then went back and worked with them, and then I went back out doing financial services on my own – and that's what I'm doing now.
Are you still working full-time?
Absolutely. Still working full-time, but full-time in my business is somewhat of a euphemism for "when you can see clients." Sometimes it's really full-time, sometimes it's not as full-time.
How did you get into the financial services business?
A friend of mine kind of badgered me into it. She talked me into having an interview with this lady who I didn't want to interview with – had an interview with her, loved her, started working for her. I worked for her for a long time and did very well.
What was your fondest memory playing football in Baltimore?
My first year here, '75, I got traded from New Orleans to here [Baltimore]. Baltimore didn't, at that point and time, have a very good football team. We won our opening game and we lost four in a row – we were 1 – 4.
I remember Coach coming in and saying, "Look, our season isn't over. We got a chance. All we have to do is win the next game." So we won the next game and the next game and the next game, and the next game – we won nine in a row. I remember having a real good punt return late in the New England game, the last game of the season, that setup a touchdown for us to go ahead.
I think that was one of my most fun times here – when we were winning. I only played in five losing football games in college so I detested losing. It was like the hives for me. When we started winning, it was wonderful. Just to be on a winning franchise was pretty exciting. To be a kid playing pro football and getting to go to the playoffs, that's pretty good stuff.
Who was the best player you played with while in Baltimore?
I played with a lot of good players. Bert Jones [Baltimore Colts Quarterback: 1973 – 1981] is a good player. Lydell Mitchell [Baltimore Colts Running Back: 1972 – 1977] is a good player. Probably, I think, the best overall football player that I played with was Raymond Chester [Baltimore Colts Tight End: 1973 – 1977] - great tight end. Just a quiet leader who played football every day and every down.
We had a good, solid team all around. A lot of good football players, and we played together as a team. I think that was our biggest attribute. We didn't have a lot of heavy duty, outstanding individuals, but we had a lot of real good players that played well together.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my spare time when I'm not with my wife and my family, I'd just as soon play golf. I got hooked on it because it was something I wasn't very good at to begin with. Typically, athletically I picked up things very quickly. I play pool. I play basketball. I play ping-pong. I play a lot of things, but when I played golf, it was a tough thing to do.
When I was playing with the Saints, they kept telling me they wanted me to come out on the golf course. I said, "I don't want to play golf. It's not a sport. I'm an athlete, and I'm not going to play golf." So they finally drug me out on the golf course. I was in tennis shoes, borrowed clubs, never hit a ball before in my life, and I was dumb enough to go to the golf course to play. I shot about a 120. Next day, I went out and bought clubs, shoes, everything I needed, and I got on a mission. Within a year, I was shooting in the 80's.
[Howard currently boasts a 0.5 golf handicap.]
Have you thought about trying to qualify for the Champions Tour (a PGA Tour run golf tour for individuals 50 years old and over)?
Nope, because I know the difference between a good amateur and a professional. I know people used to say they could have played pro football, and I'd say to them, "Probably not, because if you could have, you would have."
You think about it every once in awhile. You shoot a real good round on a real tough course and you think "maybe." Then the next day you play that same golf course and shoot fifteen strokes different - nah! Realistically, you could go out there on a given week and compete, but given the opportunity to spend six months doing nothing but playing golf and preparing yourself, I think I would have an opportunity to go out there and at least comport myself well because I have been in that type of arena. When you've got 80,000 people praying for you to fail and eleven guys trying to kill you, playing golf is nothing!
If you could have your dream foursome to play golf with, who would it be?
I think I'd like to play with Tiger Woods, my son Colin, and probably Sam Snead. I watch Sam Snead's swing, and I just would like to see it live. I would like to take my son along because I think he would enjoy the experience just as much as I would. And Tiger's a no brainer. I would like to drive it past him once. If he hit a 3-iron, I might have a chance!
Do you have anything you would like to say to the fans who are reading this?
My time here in Baltimore as a football player was a joy. I thought I was treated well as a football player and as an individual. The football tradition continues, and I think the fan tradition continues. I don't think they've forgotten the Colts, and I don't think the Colts and Ravens compete. Their two different eras, two different entities, and I just say enjoy Baltimore football. We've got a winning team, and we've got the best of everything going here.
As a fan, understand that every athlete on that field is trying his very best, and if he does make a mistake, understand that he didn't try to make the mistake. Just realize, it's a little harder than it might look.
The next Q&A will be Raymond Berry (Monday, November 23rd).