When an organization is as successful as the Ravens have been since they came to Baltimore in 1996, it's easy to earn the respect of players around the league. The team has a reputation for doing things the right way, treating players with respect in a field in which business and winning have to come first.
The team's newest star, defensive lineman Calais Campbell, has only been in Baltimore for a few months. But he already sees what kind of organization the Ravens are.
"Its been great, you know, this organization is special," Campbell told local reporters Saturday afternoon before practice. "Just having the ability to make a statement from the players and coaches. And there were a lot of players speaking up, that encouragement, that freedom to really express ourselves and have support from the organization was awesome."
While the team has made waves online with their emphatic statement in favor of several specific social justice measures, it's not just their support in the fight against racial inequality that appeals to veterans like Campbell.
"This whole organization has been first class, top notch," he continued. "I remember talking to [former Raven] Tony Jefferson when I was trying to figure out if this trade was going through, and he was excited. He was like Im very excited you get to experience being a Raven.' And now I know what he means. Because this is definitely a first class organization that just encourages you to be yourself, and be the best version of yourself."
Campbell isn't the only recent acquisition who heard rave reviews when asking around about the Ravens as an organization. Fellow defensive lineman Derek Wolfe spoke with both Elivs Dumervil and Joe Flacco, both of whom spoke very highly of their time in Baltimore, with Dumervil going so far as to tell him to "sign with [the Ravens] immediately."
That kind of praise from so many respected veterans speaks to the team's reputation for valuing its players as people first, football players second. And the Ravens are consistently looking to be a leader for the rest of the NFL when it comes to running a well-respected organization.
"The Ravens always try to set the tone," Campbell said. "We try to really make a real difference and really try to set the standard for what we can do. I dont want to just do something because its cool, I want to do something because its impactful. And to have that empowerment through the organization, through the ownership, and for them to give us not only the ability to do it but the encouragement to do it, thats a good feeling. So this is an incredible organization. Im very proud to be a Raven."