Copper, Ravens on a mission
Published 7:50 pm Sunday, January 4, 2009
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
As he relaxed on a hotel bed in Miami one night before his team’s AFC playoff game against the Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Terrance Copper had visions of a Super Bowl ring.
Copper, a former standout at Washington High School and East Carolina, said he wants to earn that ring. If the fifth-year NFL veteran wins that ring, so too does Washington.
“If I can win that ring, I’m thinking about donating it to the city of Washington,” Copper said. “I know I wouldn’t have the ring any more, but I would have the memories. Plus, Washington is my hometown so I’d be able to share it with the people there.
“It’s something the people of Washington could hang their hat on. If I win it, Washington wins it. As I’ve said before, everywhere I go, I carry Washington in my heart.”
The No. 6 seed Ravens (11-5) have a ways to go to reach the Super Bowl. It starts with the Dolphins (11-5) in today’s game, which kicks off at 1 p.m.
“We’re expecting them to play hard,” Copper said of the Dolphins. “It’s at their place, and we know we’ll get their best shot.”
Because the Ravens are the sixth seed, all of their playoff games will be on the road. Copper said that doesn’t matter.
“You always want to play at home so you can have the fans, but it doesn’t matter to us now,” Copper said. “We’re on a mission and this is our path to the Super Bowl.”
Despite having a rookie quarterback (Joe Flacco) and first-year head coach (John Harbaugh), Copper isn’t shocked Baltimore is in the position it’s in now.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Copper said. “I’ve been with two other teams (Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints) and I can say nobody works harder than the Ravens.”
This is Copper’s second playoff appearance. While with the Saints in 2006, Copper appeared in two postseason games.
The 6-0, 207-pound receiver had four catches for 32 yards in the 2006 playoffs.
“It feels good to be here again,” Copper said. “The experience is different. A lot of other NFL teams are home right now. To continue the journey toward a Super Bowl is great. It shows that we’re one of the elite teams.”
Copper said the Ravens are preparing for today’s playoff game like any other game.
“I really think for us, it’s like another game,” Copper said. “Everybody says you have to turn it up a notch at playoff time, but we play hard all the time. We just have to keep playing hard.
“The biggest difference (between a playoff game and a regular-season game) is the atmosphere. Yes, there is added pressure because if you lose, you go home. But we’ve been playing playoff-type games the last couple of weeks.”
Baltimore clinched its playoff spot with a 27-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Copper played at receiver and on special teams, his first game action since Nov. 9. He injured his neck in that contest, a 41-13 victory over the Houston Texans, and was sidelined or inactive until last week.
“It felt good to be back out there,” said Copper, who said his neck is doing better. “It felt good to just run around again.”
Copper, who has two special teams tackles and has not caught a pass this season, is hoping to contribute in today’s game.
“I just want to play hard every snap I’m out there,” he said. “I want to help contribute to the team in any way I can.”
Copper, who has 46 receptions for 600 yards and six touchdowns in his career, believes his Ravens can go a long way this year.
“I really believe we can go far,” said Copper, who has 26 kickoff returns for 502 yards (19.3 average) and 41 special-teams tackles in his career. “If we lose, I think it will be because we beat ourselves.”
Copper wants nothing more than to see the Ravens succeed so he can present that Super Bowl ring to his hometown.