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Gregg picks up Extra Effort award

April 18, 2004|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Kelly Gregg was told all his life to give up, that he "would never make it."

"I never figured out what 'it' was," Gregg told the crowd at the 41st annual Ravens Roost No. 7 Extra Effort Awards Banquet Saturday night at Elks Lodge No. 378. "I knew I was too small and too short, but I didn't think anyone noticed."

But what everyone did notice was the effort and attitude the 6-foot, 310-pound defensive tackle put into everything he did. Going to Oklahoma as a two-time all-state player and a three-time state wrestling champion, Gregg set Big 12 and Sooners records as a defensive lineman.

He joined the Ravens as a free agent and worked his way into the starting lineup.

"For every Ray Lewis, there is a Kelly Gregg," he said.

It was a fitting theme for the evening.

"We never gave up on football here in the Baltimore area," WMAR television personality Jamie Costello said. "I remember sitting in this room in 1984, the year the Colts left and heckling the speaker from the Washington Redskins."

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Costello, who started his career in Hagerstown at NBC-25, was present when the NFL turned down Baltimore's expansion bid in favor of Charlotte's and Jacksonville's.

"Gov. (William Donald) Schaefer broke down and cried in the room," Costello said. "But thank goodness we persevered and Mr. (Art) Modell brought football back to us.

"I thought about those days often as I covered Baltimore in the 2000 Super Bowl," he said.

The majority of the evening was devoted to honoring the 2003 All-Washington County Football team members.

Coaches from individual schools recognized their best players, but the highlight of the evening came as Smithsburg's Nathan Steelman was named the winner of the $2,500 Gus Baker Memorial Scholarship.

Steelman, who led the Leopards into the playoffs last season, appeared stunned at first then strode to the front to accept the award.

"I'm more than a little appreciative," Steelman said. "This means a great deal to me and will help quite a bit."

Steelman plans to attend Shenandoah University in the fall.

"He is a great kid and a better football player," Smithsburg coach Buddy Orndorff said. "The worst thing about Nathan is he is a senior and I won't have him back next year."

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