BALTIMORE _ Retiring Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis promised Monday to win a championship for the thousands of fans who turned out in the Inner Harbor to send their team to the Super Bowl.
"We did this, we did this in 2000 and we are not going to New Orleans for nothing else but to bring back another ring back to Baltimore, where it belongs," Lewis said, referring to the team's first Super Bowl championship. "We love you, we love you, we love you, Baltimore. We are going to bring everything we got."
Lewis, coach John Harbaugh and safety Ed Reed were among the Ravens who spoke to the crowd before the team got on buses and headed to the airport to fly to New Orleans. The Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's game.
Harbaugh told the crowd that turned out in a freezing rain that the Ravens have the best fans in the world.
"The wall of purple, can't wait to see all the fans that are going to be down in New Orleans," Harbaugh said.
Cole Sichette, 17, and his friend Nick Holland, 17, were among those that braved the weather. The Pasadena teenagers were able to go because they didn't have school Monday.
"Even if we had school, I'd be skipping for this," Sichette said, adding he was looking forward to a victory rally. "If we win the Super Bowl, I'm going to skip for that."
Tracy Yeager was at the Inner Harbor with her three children, Mason, 14, Carley, 10, and Cassidy, 6, struggling to get a view of the stage. The mother said all four were hardcore Ravens fans, and the weather didn't matter.
"Absolutely not," Yeager said. "It just makes us bigger fans. Even if we can't see anything."