Ravens fans in Anne Arundel County and elsewhere south and east of Baltimore can thank team owner Steve Bisciotti for the team's annual training camp road trip to Annapolis.
The Ravens return to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium tonight for a free training camp at 7 p.m. Gates open at 5:30, with cold tailigating (no grills) available beginning at 4 p.m.
These off-site workouts -- one was held at M&T Bank Stadium last Monday -- were viewed by the team as a way to stay connected with fans after the Ravens permanently moved training camp from McDaniel College to team headquarters in Owings Mills.
When the team announced the training camp switch, Bisciotti quickly conceded that the move would mean far fewer fans would be able to watch training camp. But he stressed that off-site workouts would be added.
"I'd like to get one down to Annapolis; it's my neck of the woods," Bisciotti, an Anne Arundel county resident, said after the 2011 season.
Indeed, the Ravens will be working out at Navy for the third straight training camp, and the past two have been a big hit with players, fans and coaches. It certainly doesn't hurt the Ravens to increase their exposure in Annapolis, which seemingly lies on a fault line dividing Ravens and Redskins fans.
Last year's Navy workout drew about 20,000. This year's attendance should be similar, although it could be hurt by the makeup game between the Orioles and Nationals in Washington; both teams were scheduled to be off when the Aug. 4 date for the Ravens workout was set.
The workout also has added significance for one Ravens player: Safety Jeromy Miles began his collegiate career at Navy before transferring to Massachusetts.
Coach John Harbaugh also has had a close association with the military. He won the NFL's 2013 Salute to Service Award, which goes to those in the league who honor and support military members. He also took part in the NFL-USO coaches tour of the Middle East in 2009 and frequently recognizes military members at Ravens events.
"We understand that the freedom we enjoy to make all of our dreams come true – the American dream – is made real by the sacrifices that are made by the American heroes in our military all over the world," Harbaugh said after last year's workout at Navy. "We understand that. Coming here is a small way for us to say, ‘Thanks.’ It’s important for us to do that.”