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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 7, 2001

President Bush Meets with the 2001 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens
East Room

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THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please be seated. It seems like we drew quite a crowd here today. It's been a big day here at the White House. I got to sign the most significant tax relief in a generation. (Applause.) Recycling a few tax families here. (Laughter.) Then, of course, I get the high honor of welcoming the Super Bowl champs, the Baltimore Ravens. (Applause.)

First, I do want to thank the members of the United States Congress from the state of Maryland who are here. It seems like they have got a particular interest in this event. Thank you all for coming. Cardinal, thank you for being here, as well. With you on the side of the Ravens, I can now understand why teams like the Cowboys didn't do very well. (Applause.)

Art, welcome, and congratulations. As some of you may know, or don't know, I used to be an owner in the professional leagues. It happened to be in baseball. I never had the thrill of receiving a trophy like you and your family have done. It's a great tribute to good ownership, to win a trophy such as this. And I congratulate you for being here. And I congratulate you for putting together a fine organization. Big Ozzie, congratulations, sir. I'm your age. (Laughter.) You look younger. (Laughter.)

I also want to congratulate the coach. Brian, it's good to see you again. I think the players know this, that you can't win a championship without a good coach, without a good leader. And it's pretty hard to inspire a group of strong-headed great athletes -- (laughter) -- but you did. I congratulate you.

I want to congratulate all the players who are here. And I want to congratulate your families, too. It's sometimes not easy to be the wife of a football player or a baseball player. There's a lot of time away from home. And while the players, of course, deserve the great credit for winning on the field, the wives deserve a lot of credit, too, by standing behind the players. So congratulate to the family members.

This is a team that is blessed by five native -- having five native Texans on the team. (Laughter.) Very wise of you. (Laughter.) So to my fellow Texans, welcome to the White House, it's good to see you. (Laughter.)

A couple of points I want to make. First, I realize it's been 30 years since the Lombardi Trophy rested in Baltimore, Maryland. It's clear by bringing it back home, Art, that you have indelibly etched your team and your style and the team's culture on the hearts of the people of Baltimore.

I also want to use this opportunity -- as you know, I'm going over to Europe, and one of the discussions there in Europe will be about defense -- (laughter) -- Senator Sarbanes. (Laughter.) I think our allies need to look at the Baltimore Ravens. (Laughter.) They'll realize good defense wins. A good defense is one which adjusts to the times. A good defense is modern. A good defense is clear.

And if Secretary Rumsfeld gets tired of his job, Secretary Marvin Lewis sounds pretty good. (Laughter.) Secretary of Defense. (Laughter.)

At any rate, congratulations for winning. I also want to congratulate Michale McCrary. I do, because he recently received the NFL Players Association Highest Honor of Humanity Achievement. That's important. It's important to be a champ on the field and it's important to be a champ off the field. And, Michael, I want to thank you for your work with the Special Olympics.

I don't know if any of you have ever had a chance to go to see the Special Olympics, but if you do, and somebody offers you a chance to be a hugger -- which means you're standing on the other side of the finish line to hug somebody who comes running across -- do it. It touches your heart. And, Michael, thank you for that. And thank you for setting a good example.

Thank you all for coming to the White House. Thanks for being champs. And on behalf of the American people, I congratulate you. (Applause.)

END 2:33 P.M. EDT

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