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Stover is go-between in Ravens’ celebration

Times Staff Writer

It was only practice for the Baltimore Ravens, but thanks to veteran field-goal kicker Matt Stover, the day turned into a celebration.

Ravens Coach John Harbaugh told the players that if Stover, 40, was successful on a 48-yard field-goal try, the afternoon practice session would be canceled.

Stover then drilled the football between the uprights, setting off the team’s celebration, according to the Associated Press.

“I’m telling you, that ball was moving left outside the uprights,” Harbaugh said. “But somebody bumped it back in. The magic of Matt Stover, I guess.”

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Indeed, Stover boasts one of the highest career field-goal success rates in the NFL, 83.8%, along with field goals made, 435.

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Trivia time

Stover’s pro career began in 1991, a year after he was drafted by what team?

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Heads up

Speaking of NFL preseason celebrations, another was sparked at a recent New Orleans Saints practice by, of all people, country music star Kenny Chesney.

The singer is friends with Saints Coach Sean Payton, who allowed Chesney to take part in drills for the second straight year, the AP reported.

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Payton told his players they would get this Sunday off if Chesney could catch a booming punt from Steve Weatherford within two chances. Chesney needed three, but Payton still gave them the day off.

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Toss up

A lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, Leo Hildebrand hopes one day to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. But at 104, he also hopes the day comes soon.

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Henny Kronvold, one of Hildrebrand’s neighbors in Bensenville, Ill., last season tried to persuade the Cubs to let Hildebrand toss the first pitch before a game. But the team politely said no dates were available, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“We have so many deserving fans -- including Leo Hildebrand -- but can’t get to them all,” Cubs spokesman Jason Carr told the newspaper.

In the meantime, Hildebrand keeps throwing pitches in front of his home to stay loose. But his daughter, Arlene Burm, said: “He can’t wait much longer.”

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Trivia answer

The New York Giants.

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And finally

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Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, an assistant for the U.S. men’s basketball team, said that during the exhibition series leading to the Olympics, American players weren’t too keen on exploring Chinese cuisine. Boeheim, in the Post-Standard in Syracuse, wrote, “The players ate at places like California Pizza Kitchen and Tony Roma’s.”

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james.peltz@latimes.com


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