Playing on Thanksgiving a special experience for several Ravens

Thanksgiving traditions start with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and other belt-stretching foods. But just as much, they include football, especially afternoon tilts in Dallas and Detroit, and more recently, primetime contests in various cities.

Baltimore has become a popular destination for that third contest, as the Ravens will play Thanksgiving night for the second time in three years - this time against the rival Steelers with both teams 5-6 heading into the game.

Although the players miss out on traditional family time, they love the idea of being a part of the holiday’s tripleheader.

“I love playing on Turkey Day. How can you not love playing on Thanksgiving?” defensive end Chris Canty said. “I remember when I was a little kid, we used to round up all the kids in the neighborhood and get a football and just go out and just play sandlot ball. Thanksgiving, I mean, you then go in and eat some turkey. That doesn’t leave. You’re just excited about the opportunity to go out there in front of a national audience and show what kind of football team that we have. I’m just really looking forward to the opportunity. I always have.”

Rookie wideout Marlon Brown is thrilled to have the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving his first year in the league.

“I just remember just watching TV with my family, having good family time, seeing all my family I haven’t seen in forever,” Brown said. “This is probably a dream. I remember being a little kid, I used to be home with my family and we used to want to watch football. And now the tables have turned. Now I’m playing in the game. It’s awesome. It’s a dream come true.”

Coach John Harbaugh counts himself among those excited to have the Ravens showcased on national television.

“It’s an honor to play on Thanksgiving,” he said. “I think it is most guys’ favorite holiday, isn’t it? Don’t we all feel that way on Thanksgiving? We all love Thanksgiving. To get a chance to play on Thanksgiving night in front of the whole country in a rivalry such as this in Baltimore is something that you work hard for and being a part of what we do. So we’re looking forward to it. We can’t wait to play.”