NFL notebook: 'I love you,' Lewis tells 200,000 in his Raven farewell

2013-02-06T00:00:00Z NFL notebook: 'I love you,' Lewis tells 200,000 in his Raven farewellThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

BALTIMORE - Baltimore celebrated with its Super Bowl champion Ravens on Tuesday, with thousands of fans in purple lining the streets and packing the team's stadium for a celebration.

Fans filled the square in front of City Hall and cheered when the team arrived and when players held the silver Lombardi trophy aloft. The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management estimated that 200,000 people took part in the celebration in Charm City, including at City Hall, along the parade route and at the stadium.

Coach John Harbaugh thanked fans for their support, and safety Ed Reed sang the melody of Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise." Retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis, the only current player to have started with the team when it relocated from Cleveland in 1996, told fans the team had kept its vow to go to New Orleans and win.

"The city of Baltimore - I love you for ever and ever and ever and ever," Lewis told fans in front of City Hall.

Quarterback Joe Flacco and other players rode in their own camouflage-colored military vehicles, while some stood on a float decorated like a football field.

Lewis Neal, 59, who was born and raised in Baltimore, was decked out in a purple tie and vest to purple pants and shoes. He said he went to the parade after the team won its first Super Bowl championship in 2001. This time was smaller, he said, but still special.

"My heart goes out for (the fans)," said Lewis, who added he had tears in his eyes Sunday when the team beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 for the title.

Extra points

• New Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians completed his 13-assistant staff Tuesday. The group includes ex-Cardinal Stump Mitchell as running backs coach and Amos Jones as special teams coordinator. New QB coach Freddie Kitchens and defensive assistant Ryan Slowik were retained from coach Ken Whisenhunt's staff.

• San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he will make it a priority to re-sign franchise safety Dashon Goldson to a long-term contract this offseason.

• After finishing next to last in the league, the New York Giants began a defensive facelift by releasing veteran linebacker Michael Boley, who was hampered last season by injuries but still finished third in team tackles.

• The Detroit Lions released two veteran starters Tuesday, cutting three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and guard Stephen Peterman. Bosch, 34, had two years left on a $26 million contract.

• The Browns released defensive end Frostee Rucker after one season. He's the first casualty of Cleveland switching from a 4-3 to multi-front defensive scheme under first-year coach Rob Chudzinski.

• The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new logo to signify a new era. The logo, which comes after hiring general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley, maintains traditional colors (black, teal and gold) and offers a more realistic and fierce jaguar head. "Now that's a cool cat," said owner Shad Khan, who also said he plans to install the NFL's largest video boards for about $50 million.

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