Close Encounters Of The NFL Kind

Malcolm Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Most likely, you've bumped into or had the chance to meet a player, coach or front office member of your favorite NFL team.

Everyone who reads Baltimore Beatdown is either a huge fan of the Baltimore Ravens or one of the other 31 NFL teams. You watch your team on TV and sometimes even in person. You may have seen a player or coach out in public and perhaps even gone to an autograph signing to get their signature on a piece of memorabilia.

Then, there are those times you just happen to bump into one of them unexpectedly. What was the most unexpected meeting you've had with someone from your favorite team, be it a player, coach, or other team employee? Tell us where, when and what happened that will make you remember it for the rest of your life and how it changed your opinion of that person (good or bad)?

I've had a bunch of chance meetings with players from all sports, virtually all good. I used to play ice hockey and there was a little place in Baltimore that sold equipment where legendary Baltimore Colts QB Johnny Unitas would hang out at, since his kid played hockey. He'd just sit there and chat with anyone in such a laid-back informal way.

Once I was sitting at a local restaurant in the area with my then-12 year old son and there was a tall, older gentleman walking around, signing baseballs. He came over and gave one to my son. It was signed, "Frank Howard: NL Rookie of the Year 1960." Howard was a huge man in his Major League Baseball playing days, mostly with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Senators, who led the league in home runs twice, hitting tape-measure shots on a regula basis.

My son, who was wearing his Little League uniform, asked Mr. Howard how it felt to hit a home run. Frank answered something like it felt great to help your team tie or win a game. My son said, "No, what does it feel like to hit the home run and then run around the bases as everyone cheered?" Howard smiled and said, "It's the best feeling ever."

Not football related, but still a great random meeting for a dad to see his son talking to one of the best of his generation.

What's your "Close Encounters" story?

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