Pleasant Surprise at the Castle

On a quiet morning at the Ravens Castle, waiting for the hustle and bustle of football to return, a truly great way to pass the time arrived.  Hall of Fame RB Lenny Moore came looking for a little excitement too.  We found ourselves in the buzz free lobby, but soon the quiet gave way.  When Lenny gets to talking football, his understated voice builds into a mini roar (a team employee ventured out of an office and w/ the utmost respect asked he keep it down. just a little. sir.)

Mr. Moore was not so pleasantly surprised at the waiving of the four veterans on Wednesday.  But it wasn’t the offensive side of the ball he was first to lament.  Not Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, or Willis McGahee.  It was the loss of Kelly Gregg that got his dander in a rise.

“He’s so strong!  We need him in the middle!” 

Love the way he says we.  These may be the Ravens, but in his eyes it’s Baltimore’s team therefore his team.

But when talking football it never takes long for the stories of the old Colts to start flying.  They always revolve around J-U.  That’s what he calls John Unitas.

He began with a story from his 3rd year in the league when Raymond Berry approached him.  Berry said that they need more Lenny Moore in the offense.  Lenny was surprised and flattered, but it wasn’t just a compliment.  Berry said that Lenny had to stay after practice and work with J-U.  That Lenny wasn’t working hard enough and J-U didn’t trust him yet.  Message received.  Moore stayed after from that point forward (despite the fact that Art Donovan said “are you nuts!”).

Lenny also told a story of a Pro Bowl practice when Vince Lombardi was the coach.  Lombardi made a suggestion about positioning the tight end a step farther outside to free him up getting off the line.  Lombardi asked if anyone had any questions. J-U was the only one to raise his hand.  And it wasn’t with a question.  Unitas said why move him just a yard off the tackle, you have to move him five yards for it to make any impact. Lombardi paused, and said he was right.

More stories about J-U and how he defied Weeb Ewbank constantly and Ewbank just kind of shrugged it off.  But when Unitas ignored Don Shula’s play calls the coach went nuts.  It didn’t matter to Unitas, he still called his own plays.  However with Shula he had to walk away faster before the coach could get a hold of him.

Lenny Moore is a true Baltimore treasure, and it warms my heart to see him embrace the Ravens wholly and for the Ravens to reciprocate. It’s an honor to share just a couple of minutes of stories from today.

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