No doubt, the ride home from Pittsburgh was a quiet one.  A hard fought battle, waged on Christmas Day, had come up short in the final seconds of the game. A mere four points had dashed Baltimore’s chance at a playoff berth and meant that within a week, the team that leads the NFL in Big Softies would be packing up and heading off to their respective horizons. With salary caps and free agency looming, there’s a strong chance this group of men will never wear the same uniforms again.

Like many in Baltimore, we felt a huge sense of loss yesterday – not for what did or didn’t happen on the field, but instead for the winding down of what’s been a championship season for the animals of Baltimore.

It started last May when players like Lawrence Guy, Ryan Jensen, Morgan Cox, Carl Davis and Kamar Aiken came into town to help raise funds for the homeless animals at BARCS.  It continued into the summer when Lawrence Guy incorporated anti-animal abuse messages into his community days and school visits across the country.  It was reinforced when Ryan Jensen and Ronnie Stanley both adopted discarded shelter pups into their families.   And came to a glorious finale when all of the above joined by Albert McClellan, Chris Moore and Willie Henry suited up in reindeer antlers and blinking noses to pose for holiday pics with dogs and cats.  All in the name of showing the world that you can be a tough guy and still have a soft side.

This year’s Ravens’ Softies have been champions for the animals of Baltimore.  Every time we’ve asked for their help, they’ve come through.  Whether it’s to talk with at-risk kids, promote adoptions, attend fundraisers or just help us spread the word, they’ve said yes and they’ve said it gladly.  When we look back on this year’s football season, there’s only one word we can use to describe it and that’s – WINNING.

We couldn’t be prouder of our team of Baltimore Softies  and just hope that other communities will, one day, be able to say the same.