Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis already is one of the NFL's most intimidating players. Imagine him wearing an all-black uniform.
Yesterday the Ravens unveiled a third uniform that will be worn once, in a Sunday night game on ESPN against Cleveland on Nov. 7. Minicamp in Owings Mills, Md., turned into a runway show with Lewis and quarterback Kyle Boller modeling the new look: a black jersey with white numbers and purple trim at the sleeves, and solid black pants.
Lewis and owner Steve Bisciotti had discussed ways to present the Ravens, and Lewis pushed for the all-black look. The solid black pants -- no purple stripe down the side -- is Lewis's idea. "Black is what we represent; it's who we are," Lewis said.
"Our intent really wasn't to create something that would sell a tremendous amount more of product," said Dennis Mannion, Baltimore's senior vice president of business development and marketing. "We just wanted to give the team a little bit of a different look."
The jerseys will be on sale at the end of the summer.
The NFL asks teams to select a shoe color at the start of the year, and to wear that color throughout the season. The Ravens usually wear white shoes, though they will ask for permission to wear black shoes with the black uniforms.
The Ravens are the sixth NFL team to adopt black jerseys and pants. They join Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Atlanta, New Orleans and Philadelphia.
"Black is very powerful," Lewis said. "There's an intimidation factor, too. When you're dressed in all black and you come to play football, and you've got a swarm of 53 men, and our defense in all black with black helmets? It's going to be exciting."
-- Camille Powell