After three and a half weeks of pad-smacking practices in muggy conditions at McDaniel College, this is it. Today is the last day of training camp, folks.
The Ravens will technically break camp tomorrow after a closed team walk-through, but today's two sessions will mark the final full practices open to the public and the media. I hope I can keep it together this afternoon without breaking into tears.
Taking a look at the big picture, the Ravens have had a successful month in Westminster.
John Harbaugh's intense, fast-paced practices have gotten his players in shape and ready for the regular season. The rookies have come along quickly, the veterans have been given time off when necessary, and guys coming off injuries have slowly been eased into action.
(And if you missed it, another injured Raven might be returning as early as this morning.)
Joe Flacco has built up his chemistry with Anquan Boldin, Donte' Stallworth and the rest of his new weapons, the pass rush looks to be much improved, and the Ravens appear to have four quality safeties on the active roster even with Ed Reed still on PUP.
If there's been one negative to come out of camp, it's been the injuries (most notably to the secondary and offensive line), but that can't be avoided. Injuries will happen in training camp; that's just the nature of the business.
Now, just because camp is over doesn't mean that the players will pack up and go chill out on their sofas for the next few weeks. The Ravens will resume a normal practice schedule at the Owings Mills complex starting on Monday, and will continue to work towards finalizing their 53-man roster.
Meanwhile, if you still haven't gotten enough of training camp after today, you need to tune in to HBO's "Hard Knocks", which follows the New York Jets throughout their training camp.
Seriously, you must check out this show.
I've watched an NFL training camp practice every day for about a month, and I still find "Hard Knocks" to be the best thing on TV. "Mad Men" is up there as well, and "Entourage" has started to climb back into the mix after a few solid episodes in a row, but there's no topping "Hard Knocks" in my book right now.
Not only is the show immensely entertaining (and how could it not be with Rex Ryan and Bart Scott wired for sound every day), but it takes you inside the inner workings of an NFL team like you won't see anywhere else. If you love football, you'll love this show.
The Ravens have a different perspective than you or I when watching "Hard Knocks"; they're trying to pick up any information on the Jets that will help them better prepare for the regular season opener in the Meadowlands on Sept. 13.
Harbaugh said that while he has watched the show, there isn't much there which the Ravens can use to their advantage.
"You don't see anything that we'd really be interested in seeing," Harbaugh said. "It's not like they've got their practice script and their coaching video up. If they had that, we'd take a close look at it.
"We do suspect that coach Ryan has had a few of his local friends from Ellicott City out here with their cameras videotaping practice, but that's OK. He knows what we're doing. We pretty much know what they're doing. I'm sure there'll be a few wrinkles, but it's fun to watch."