Ravens' elaborate turkey hoax

OWINGS MILLS -- Beware gullible, hungry football players, the Baltimore Ravens' annual turkey hoax is afoot. <br><br> Days prior to Thanksgiving, veteran players pass out fliers in the locker room advertising free turkeys being available for Ravens' players at Bullock's Country Meats in Westminster. It's an elaborate ruse, complete with a map to the store, circulating throughout the training complex this week.

Every year, ravenous players -- typically rookies or free-agent newcomers -- drive out to Carroll County only to discover that there's no free fowl waiting for them.

"I was real hungry and I went all the way out to that store when I was rookie and found out the joke was on me," said safety Chad Williams, who was duped in 2002 along with receiver Randy Hymes. "I wanted a turkey and I wound up being disappointed and hungry. The veterans, they all laughed at us."

Typically, the authentic-looking flier and the MapQuest directions is what does the trick, along with athletes' prodigious appetites.
"They got me good," Hymes said. "I wanted a fried turkey. We wound up signing all these autographs, but we never got any turkey. It could happen to anybody."

However, not every player falls for the joke.

Just ask fifth-year defensive end Marques Douglas, a man who couldn't be duped.

"Why would you need to give a professional athlete a free turkey?" Douglas said. "We could buy several turkeys with our salaries. They tried to get me and they've gotten a lot of guys over the years, but it didn't work on me.

"Sometimes, the guys who got fooled last year will tell guys and they will catch on to what's going on."

Wide receiver Travis Taylor has been a ring leader of some of the successful turkey hoaxes, along with former defensive backs and hoax organizers Anthony Mitchell and James Trapp.

"It's hilarious," Taylor said. "You have to be real gullible and real hungry to get fooled, but we always have somebody fall for it."

Aaron Wilson writes for ravensinsider.com and the Carroll County Times.

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