I remember that scene like it was yesterday.
Ed Reed put on a pair of wildy oversized headphones, threw his bag over his shoulder and started singing a song about Jesus as he exited the Ravens locker room out of small back door that concealed the fact he was leaving without addressing the media.
Lee Evans sat at his locker, uniform still on, staring straight ahead, saying nothing. It struck me for a moment that perhaps a player or two might literally have to undress him and force him into the shower so the plane could eventually leave the airport in Boston.
Joe Flacco dressed quietly, but his face didn’t show any obvious signs of distress. He’s always Captain Cool, even in the midst of the second excruciating AFC championship of his young career.
And Sam Koch held court with a few members of the media, repeating time after time, “everything was fine…right up until the ball was kicked…then I don’t know what happened.” His voice trailed off as he realized how close the Ravens had come to forcing overtime with the now-famous 32 yard “chip shot” that Billy Cundiff pulled wide left in the waning seconds of last January’s 23-20 loss to New England.
I remember Matt Birk saying to me, “I feel sorry for these guys. They busted their ass all year. And today. We took it down to the last second. It just wasn’t meant to be.” I loved that Birk said “I feel sorry for these guys” as if he was watching over them.
But the thing I remember most about the aftermath of that loss?
Unlike Reed, who snuck out, Cundiff busted through the doors of the interview room and said – in so many words – “here I am”.
Cundiff then addressed the media for upwards of 20 minutes, answering every question with dignity and grace in the heat of what certainly was his toughest moment as a professional athlete.
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