NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens don't want to have anything to do with the Vince Lombardi Trophy — unless they earn the right to hoist it after the Super Bowl.
Asked Wednesday whether he's considered how great it would be to grasp the trophy after Sunday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers, Ravens coach John Harbaugh scoffed at the suggestion.
"I have given no thought to that," he said. "You don't earn the right to even think about that until you've won the football game and become the one true champion. We're not the one true champion at this point. We're going to fight like crazy to earn that award."
Last week, CBS brought a faux Lombardi Trophy to the Ravens' training facility and asked each player to pose with the hardware.
Linebacker Ray Lewis nixed the idea.
"I told my team, don't ever take pictures with nothing that's not yours, nothing that you haven't earned," Lewis said. "When we hold that Lombardi, whoever holds that Lombardi next Sunday, you've earned it when you touch it. And don't fool yourself and try to trick yourself (by saying), 'This feels great.' Don't go through that. I don't believe in jinxes and all that, I just believe in don't set yourself up for something. Just really work for it."
Lewis grasped the coveted trophy in 2001, after the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 for their only Super Bowl win. That trophy is prominently displayed at the entrance to the team's training complex.
Running back Ray Rice, who is playing in his first Super Bowl, has no desire to hold the trophy until the Ravens earn it.
"We have to work to get that," he said. "I don't want to see the Super Bowl trophy unless it's rightfully ours."
TEAM GLEASON: Steve Gleason sure knows how to get people's attention.
The former special teams player — a hero in New Orleans since he blocked a punt for a touchdown in the Saints' first home game after Hurricane Katrina — was accompanied by a brass band and some famous friends as he made the rounds at the Super Bowl media center Wednesday to raise awareness for The Team Gleason House for Innovative Living. The house, located near New Orleans' BioDistrict, uses cutting-edge technology to help people with incurable neuro-muscular disorders like ALS or MS live more independently.
Gleason was diagnosed in January 2011 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which causes gradual paralysis.
"This disease, for far too long, has been left underfunded and ignored," said former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, who has remained good friends with Gleason. "That is not acceptable. That's just not acceptable. ... That is the challenge, to get this on people's radar."
Gleason's appearance Wednesday was a start. Fujita, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu and political pundits James Carville and Mary Matalin joined Gleason at a news conference to celebrate Chase Bank's $350,000 grant to Team Gleason House. A new public service announcement featuring Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews and Herm Edwards also was unveiled.
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