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."