Matt Stover and I have been trading texts and phone calls for months. People asked me almost daily, “What’s happening with Matt?”
Today, he spent about 20 minutes with Bob Haynie and you can hear the entire episode here in the audio vault. It was a sensational interview by Haynie and I hope you check it out!
For the record, Stover has become one of my favorite all-time Ravens, even though we’ve never been publicly linked because he wasn’t a frequent visitor on my show throughout the years.
Even though I don’t think I’ve done five “on the record” conversations with him in nearly 15 years, No. 3 was always “go to” guy in the clubhouse literally since the nanosecond the team arrived from Cleveland in 1996. I always love to tell the story of the “altercation” we had in the Memorial Stadium locker room after the first game against Oakland. I was wearing a hardhat with the flying B logo. He chastised me. I introduced myself. We came to terms and and it’s been “all good” ever since.
Stover is a rock star of a great guy. A community, family and biblical guy. Always very straightforward and honest, I have immense respect for him even if I don’t always agree with him. He’s truly a man of integrity and a guy I always enjoy spending time and talking about the world with him.
We hugged in the bowels of Raymond James Stadium back on Jan. 28, 2001. We have many mutual friends around the city. His family and mine were on a mutual flight out of New Orleans the morning of the evacuation of Hurrican Katrina.
So, when the whispers of him signing elsewhere started to erupt a few weeks ago – first Cleveland, then the New York Giants – people were peppering me with questions about his intentions.
It was always pretty clear: Stover never wanted to leave the Ravens. The Ravens made it clear, though, that they were done with Stover.
Yesterday, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. He text me right away to tell me of his decision.
Today, he called me and wanted to speak to the people of Baltimore, who he’s very concerned will see him as a traitor for even considering putting on the blue horseshoe and potentially kicking a game-winner against our beloved Ravens on Nov. 22.
In his conversation with Haynie, he was very, very forthright about his love of Baltimore and his intentions to live here for a long time while his kids go to school here.
Honestly, that game in six weeks at M&T Bank Stadium could still play out with an immense amount of drama or a kick to win the game on national TV, but for now, Stover is back to being employed in the NFL and he’s drawn the enviable position of kicking for an undefeated team with Super Bowl hopes that are quite realistic with Peyton Manning at the helm.
Strangely enough, this is the second time Stover has been put in an emotional city vs. city position.
Remember: he’s the guy who went back to Cleveland every year for 10 falls with a purple jersey and a B on his helmet. As he said today, the people of Cleveland still scream all sorts of things at him, which is no surprise if you’ve ever worn the color purple on the shores of the Cuyahoga.
I’ll say publicly here in the blog what I said to him this morning.
“Good luck. I love you and wish you well. But the Colts, hey, you’ll never get me to wish the Colts well…”
That’s out of the realm of possibility for me. Out of respect for my Pop, of course.
But I do hope Stover fares well…except on Nov. 22 of course!