Ihedigbo could still become Ravens favorite

Ihedigbo could still become Ravens favorite
July 28, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Strong safety James Ihedigbo (32) celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots 28-13 in the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium.

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Injuring a teammate during training camp isn’t a way to ingratiate yourself to fans. But just because safety James Ihedigbo collided with tight end Dennis Pitta on Saturday, fracturing Pitta’s hip and apparently knocking him out for the season, it doesn’t mean Ravens fans won’t come to embrace Ihedigbo.

After all, remember Kelly Gregg?

The first time most of Baltimore heard Gregg’s name was during training camp in early August 2001, when his tackle of Jamal Lewis resulted in a torn anterior cruciate ligament for Lewis, ending the workhorse running back’s second season before it could even get started. Gregg was a street free agent, trying to make the Ravens as a reserve defensive tackle after having spent just one season on an NFL roster.

Heck of a way to make a first impression, huh?

But as it turned out, Gregg not only made the squad, but he also became a starter at nose tackle the next season and spent nine productive years in Baltimore. By the time he left after the 2010 season, hardly anyone brought up how he had knocked out the team’s top running back from the preceding Super Bowl season.

He had become a fan favorite, a hard-working fireplug in the middle of the defense with his squat body and former wrestling champion’s moves. Gregg was known as “Buddy Lee,” after a funny-looking doll in a jeans commercial.

So if you produce, what are a few season-ending injuries between friends?


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