Kelly Gregg was back in his normal place last night, waddling out of the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium and lining up directly across from the center under the bright lights, ready to battle it out in the trenches.
Things looked exactly as they had for the last 10 years ... well, with two major changes.
Instead of sporting the purple and black, Gregg was wearing white and red, and he had the No. 77 draped across his back instead of his previous No. 97.
Last night marked Gregg's return to Baltimore after the longtime Ravens nose tackle signed with the Chiefs this offseason. In need of salary cap space, the Ravens cut good ole' "Buddy Lee" almost immediately after the lockout was lifted, and Gregg was able to score a one-year, $3.5 million deal from Kansas City.
Ironically enough, his first road game with the Chiefs put him right back in Baltimore.
"It was fun being back," Gregg said of his return. "At first, I didn't think nothing of it. It was a little different coming in here, having to go out on the other side. I was telling my wife, I didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal, but as I was thinking about it, I got a little nervous. I haven't been nervous in a long time."
Gregg made four tackles last night, and got a nice round of applause when his name was announced through the stadium when he brought down running back Ray Rice on the Ravens' first offensive series.
"All the fans are great tonight," Gregg said after the game. "They were great my whole time here. I appreciate them. There are good people here in Baltimore. I have no complaints on that end. I just would like to give a shout out to all the fans. Everybody always made my stay here enjoyable."
Joining Gregg on the Chiefs reunion tour were fullback Le'Ron McClain, offensive tackle Jared Gaither and quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn. While Gaither didn't play last night (nor did Zorn, if anyone was wondering), McClain got the very first touch of the game, picking up two yards on a carry to the right side. The fullback also added a 15-yard reception later in the game, and showed off his slimmed-down physique, eluding a couple would-be tacklers.
The former Ravens had a nice meet-and-greet session with their old teammates before the game, as Gregg, McClain and Gaither all exchanged hugs and pleasantries with those that they shared a huddle with while in Baltimore.
Gregg's former teammates all seemed to enjoy having their buddy back in town, even if he was on the opposite sideline or lining up across from them.
"Kelly is a great player and a great guy," center Bryan Mattison said. "It's fun playing against him. He got me a couple of times. I'm going to learn a lot from this tape. He knows what he's doing. It was a challenge playing against him. I have the utmost respect for him."
"It's going to be tough trying to replace Kelly," new starting nose tackle Terrence Cody said. "He was great around here and he's still missed, but it's my time to step up and just make plays. He's a good man, a great man."