Get your Chris McAlister #21 jersey half price!!

February 17, 2009 | Keith Melchior

Chris McAlister released? Oh, nooooooo.  That means there are only TWO Ravens left from the Super Bowl XXXV team. What is happening to our team? Odd , those two remaining players, Ray Lewis and Matt Stover, are free agents. Does this mean the cycle has ended? Are we in a new, more improved era of Baltimore Ravens football?

It is really hard to believe that Super Bowl XXXV victory was eight years ago.  Eight years is a long time in professional football. Probably 40% of NFL players don’t make it through eight years. We have been blessed with some of the longevity in our team.  Jon Ogden lasted 12 seasons, Ray and Matt 13 (although Stover has been around a lot longer). I guess that makes Todd Heap the longest tenured active player now as he’ll be in his 9th season here.

Chris McAlister would have been in his 11th season as a Raven, obviously on the down side of his career. What are some C-Mac memories of the past 10 seasons? There was interception return for a TD in SB35 (or was that Duane Starks?) , the missed field goal TD return against Denver at the end of the first half, “Shut down corner” was a term associated with C-Mac, lots of interceptions, making then-49er TO play alligator arms and subsequently quit playing in a Ravens rout,  the huge black GM truck he drove into the player’ lot almost looked like a semi, the big smile, the bling-bling earrings. Those were the good things.

Most of the bad things we remember about Chris were more recent than others. Some of the mess started in San Diego in 2003,  there were 2 straight pass interference calls against Chad Johnson in the opener vs Cincinnati, looking like a rookie against an aging Marvin Harrison in Indy in week 6,  the Miami incident and benching, playing like he was hurt week after week until he was placed on IR,  now his release.

He will probably play football in 2009.  Where he will end up is a good question. There are a few guarantees.  McAlister is no longer that “shut down corner” we all knew and loved, he will be returning from knee surgery/rehab, he will not make 8 million bucks this season. Will Rex take a flyer on him up in NY?  Will he end up at the Ohio scrapheap? Will he just fade away like so many former Ravens have once they left Baltimore? Maybe he signs a one year deal with the Steelers so he can look to get some measure of revenge against John Harbaugh twice during a season?

In a few months, Chris McAlister will be just a memory. There are much more important things that concern Ravens’ fans at the moment. The Ravens no longer have a viable shut down cornerback on the roster, which will make draft day very interesting.

You will probably see the #21 jerseys scattered around M&T Bank Stadium on game days, but I’ll bet you see more of them on sale for $29.99 or less. Adios C-Mac. Thanks for the memories. Since you were released, I doubt we’ll be seeing you in the ring of honor anytime soon.

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