Ravens loose as can be entering first playoff test

If you had any concerns about the Ravens being too tight entering Sunday's divisional round game against the Texans, you can rest easy.

Being too tight is not an issue with this team.

It was as laid back an atmosphere as can be in the locker room following today's practice, with music blasting and players dancing around.

In what has become a Friday tradition, cornerback Chris Carr and safety Tom Zbikowski were two of a number of players who ran around dunking a football over unsuspecting reporters' heads. Luckily, the Slam Dunk Crew took aim strictly at national reporters and members of the Houston media today, allowing those of us who get dunked on a weekly basis on to safely roam the locker room and chuckle at all the action.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs also got in on some of the fun, but as you might expect, he did so with his own style.

When a Houston TV reporter came into Suggs' area to interview fullback Vonta Leach, Suggs decided to make his presence known by stripping down to his birthday suit. He then stood on a stool directly behind Leach and mooned the TV camera for a good minute and a half.

It's a shame the guy doesn't have more fun.

The Ravens have announced that they will be wearing their purple jerseys on Sunday, and they have also asked fans to arrive early to M&T Bank Stadium that day. There will be a flyover prior to kickoff, and the team will introduce their Pro Bowlers to the crowd.

As you might expect, Ray Lewis will be the final guy out of the tunnel. Breaking news there, I know.

Governor Martin O'Malley was at practice today to take in the action and also to present center Matt Birk with an award for being named the Ravens' honoree as the 2011 Walter Payton Man of the Year. The award is given out to a player who provides outstanding community service as well as excellence on the field.

Birk's H.I.K.E. Foundation (which stands for "hope, inspiration, knowledge and education") helps provide at-risk Baltimore-area children with educational opportunities needed to excel in the classroom. Birk, a father of six, also launched the "Ready, Set, Read!" program in select Baltimore-area public schools in 2010. This last fall, Birk extended the program to Carroll County in an effort to reach 50,000 additional children.

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