Sunday, November 22, 2009
Back home, Stover happy for win
By Paul Kuharsky
BALTIMORE -- A lot of times, too much is made about a player returning to his old town to face his old team. In many, many instances in the NFL, these guys are mercenaries.
Certainly there are exceptions. Matt Stover's return to Baltimore as a member of the Colts was one of them.
In a 17-15 game, he hit the winning field goal against the franchise he played 17 seasons for, 12 of them in Baltimore.
“It was surreal, but I think everybody can understand that I tried my best to not internalize the fact that I am actually at Baltimore’s stadium,” he said. “So for that three hours, I compartmentalized my team, I did everything I could to erase it. Now of course there were time I was thinking, ‘Look at those guys over there, I am usually over there…’”
“Mind you I didn’t want them to win today, but I do want them to win… And I don’t want Baltimore to forget this: I’m part of the community and always will be.”
Had the Colts not signed him to fill-in for the injured Adam Vinatieri Oct. 14, Stover easily could have been with the Ravens again as they gave up on Steven Hauschka. With Stover off the market, they went with Billy Cundiff, who hit five field goals but missed a 30-yarder wide right.
After the Colts moved to 10-0 and players spilled out of the locker rooms in the tunnels below M&T Bank Stadium, Stover bumped into John Harbaugh, the coach who was part of the decision not to bring him back this season as the team went younger and looked for a bigger leg.
“Sorry about that kick he missed,” Stover told Harbaugh about Cundiff. “He kicked the ball great.”