Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis told his teammates to make sure they didn't hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy prematurely.
The trophy paid a visit to team headquarters when CBS wanted to tape the players interacting with the Super Bowl trophy Wednesday, but the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year told players it wasn't appropriate to do until or unless they defeat the San Francisco 49ers in the big game in New Orleans.
"I told my team, 'Don't ever take pictures with nothing that's not yours, nothing that you haven't earned,'" Lewis said. "When we hold that Lombardi, whoever holds that Lombardi next Sunday, you've earned it when you touch it. And don't fool yourself and try to trick yourself, 'This feels great.'
"Don't go through that. I don't believe in jinxes and all that. I just don't believe in don't set yourself up for something. Just really work for it."
Added wide receiver Torrey Smith: "I'm not about to touch something that I don't own. You can have the best cake in the world sitting in front of you, and I don't want to touch it."
The Ravens already have one Lombardi trophy, earned with a win in Super Bowl XXXV, displayed in a glass case in the lobby of team headquarters. They have an empty case reserved for another one, an ambition they hope to realize next week.
"That was the right decision," defensive end Arthur Jones said of not posing with the trophy. "Most guys understood to stay away from that trophy. It's not our trophy. We haven't earned that trophy yet.
"Once we win this game, then it will be our trophy. Then, we can do whatever we want to the trophy: kiss it, polish it or whatever. But until then, that's just a dream."