Baltimore parties with its champs

McClatchy news servicesFebruary 6, 2013 

Baltimore celebrated with its Super Bowl champion Ravens on Tuesday, with thousands of fans in purple lining the city’s streets and packing the team’s stadium for a celebration.

Fans who filled the square in front of City Hall cheered when the team arrived and when players held the silver Lombardi Trophy aloft. City officials estimated that 200,000 people took part in the celebration, including along the parade route and at the stadium.

Coach John Harbaugh thanked the fans for their support, and safety Ed Reed sang the melody of Eddie Money’s song “Two Tickets to Paradise.” Retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis — who was drafted by the team the year it moved from Cleveland in 1996 — told fans the team had fulfilled a promise to go to New Orleans and win.

“The city of Baltimore — I love you forever and ever and ever and ever,” Lewis told fans in front of City Hall.

The players were about an hour late arriving, but fans waited to see them pile into military vehicles and set off on their drive to the stadium. The city shot off purple and white confetti as the parade started and the Queen song “We Are the Champions” played over loudspeakers. Quarterback Joe Flacco and several other players rode in their own camouflage-colored military vehicles, and others stood on a float decorated like a football field.

After arriving at M&T Bank Stadium, the team treated fans to a thank-you celebration that lasted more than 30 minutes. Lewis emerged from a tunnel onto the field, handed off the Lombardi Trophy and did his signature dance. He thanked fans for their love of the team and said he wanted to win the Super Bowl to repay Baltimore for everything it’s done for him.

“There is no place on this earth that’s better than Baltimore,” he told the crowd.

Flacco, the Super Bowl’s most valuable player, also addressed the fans.

“Baltimore, we did it. Super Bowl champs, baby,” he said.

KAEPERNICK SIMMERS

Still steaming over San Francisco’s 34-31 Super Bowl loss, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick packed up his belongings in the team’s locker room in Santa Clara, Calif.

He summed up his breakout second season “as not being good enough” and said the loss will stick with him “for the rest of my life.”

“It’s good to get the experience,” Kaepernick said. “We should have won that game regardless, though.”

Kaepernick, 25, is the only quarterback in 49ers history to lose a Super Bowl. Joe Montana was 4-0 in the NFL’s marquee game, and Steve Young went 1-0.

“We had a good team,” Kaepernick said. “We just weren’t quite there.”

EXTRA POINTS

Bruce DeHaven, the Seahawks’ special teams coach from 2007-09, was hired by the Panthers to fill the same position. … Former Boise State wide receiver Titus Young was claimed by the Rams, a day after being waived by the Lions. Young was sent home by the Lions three times during the season for various incidents, including one when he punched teammate Louis Delmas during a workout. … The Lions released defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and guard Stephen Peterman. … The Giants released linebacker Michael Boley. … The Browns cut defensive end Frostee Rucker.

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