The Baltimore Ravens decided to cancel their final tune-up practice before the official start of training camp to take a field trip. On the day when veterans reported, coach John Harbaugh took the quarterbacks and rookies on a short drive up to Gettysburg, Pa., to visit the Civil War battlefields and gain a history lesson.
“What I got from it is what it takes to win a battle, to overcome adversity and keeping the big picture in mind," rookie linebacker Arthur Brown told the team's official website. "Keeping the focus on the common goal and achieving that goal.”
Team building activities are not new in the AFC North. Last month at minicamps, the Cincinnati Bengals went to a bowling alley -- not coincidentally it was called "Super Bowl" -- and then took batting practice before a Cincinnati Reds game. The Pittsburgh Steelers took a day off at minicamp to play some games at a local Dave and Buster's.
It's not a surprise that Harbaugh chose a different route. He's a history buff who frequently quotes famous generals and leaders. A year ago, when asked about that infamous handshake between his brother and Lions coach Jim Schwartz, John Harbaugh used a Civil War reference, saying: “I don't think there's been so much attention paid to a handshake since Grant and Lee shook hands at Appomattox."
On Thursday, it's back to work for the Ravens, who have their first full-team practice of training camp. The focus won't be learning about history. It will be about repeating it.