NFL News: Super Bowl winners Baltimore Ravens visit president Barack Obama at White House
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 07/06/13 12:14pm
Super Bowl winners Baltimore Ravens enjoyed the traditional reward of being hosted by the President at the White House - with Barack Obama enjoying plenty of jokes with the NFL champions.
Led by coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens were presented to President Obama at the White House - including the newly-retired Ray Lewis, who enjoyed an emotional send-off with their Super Bowl win over San Francisco.
Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome presented Obama with a Baltimore Ravens jersey and said that they hoped to be handing him another in 12 months' time.
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"On behalf of all the Ravens, I want to thank Mr. President for hosting us here today. It's an unbelievable honour and we are grateful to be here," Harbaugh said. "And I want you to know we have plans to be back next year.
"This kind of experience makes you proud of your country and proud of your accomplishments. It was an incredible honour and makes you feel good that we have people like President Obama working for our country."
A jovial Obama had fun with the likes of Lewis, Ed Reed and Joe Flacco, firstly poking fun at Lewis' famous entrance and on-field dancing.
"I suspect that these guys are wondering, 'What kind of introduction is that?'" Obama said "No smoke machine? No fire cannons? Obama didn't even tear up chunks of turf and rub them on his suit?"
Obama paid tribute to quarterback Flacco's remarkable play-off performance, which earned him a whopping new contract and the Super Bowl MVP award.
"That capped off one of the greatest postseasons ever by a quarterback," Obama said. "More than 1,100 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, no interceptions. I don't know about you Joe, but I would say that qualifies as elite.
"Good timing with that contract. That was some good timing."
Obama shares a joke with Ed Reed
Veteran safety Reed, who has since left Baltimore to join the Houston Texans, also came in for some presidential joshing as Obama pointed out his greying hair.
"The man's getting some gray hair though," Obama said. "I'm not the only one. You're like an old man, I'm telling you. That makes me feel better."
Not that Read took offence though: "It was awesome - really awesome," Reed said. "I saw it coming because he was staring at my hair before he picked on me.
"I was like, 'I hope he don't say nothing.' He knows where those gray hairs come from with this job here. That's the job of a safety and the president is the ultimate safety."
Notable absentees from the ceremony include wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who opted to remain with his new team - the 49ers - who Baltimore beat to win the Super Bowl.
Safety Bernard Pollard, now with the Titans, did not want to go after being cut by the champions, while Paul Kruger was also with his new team Cleveland and retired centre Matt Birk chose not to attend for personal reasons.