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Super Bowl champion Ravens make a White House call on Obama

WASHINGTON, June 5 (UPI) -- President Obama congratulated the Baltimore Ravens Wednesday on their 2013 Super Bowl championship and complimented them for their acts of charity.

The president greeted the Ravens on the White House's South Lawn and drew laughter from the crowd when he said he suspected the Ravens were disappointed there was "no smoke machine, no fire cannons" announcing their arrival.

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"Obama didn't even tear up chunks of turf and rub them on his suit," the president joked. "That reminds me, by the way -- please don't do that on the South Lawn."

Obama called Coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Ozzie Newsome "outstanding" at their jobs, and lauded the players for the "grit" they showed in pushing through the season despite a rash of injuries.

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Obama recounted how in the Super Bowl the Baltimore defense stiffened during a San Francisco comeback bid and "stopped a fierce offense four straight times inside the 10-yard line.

"One of the most dramatic goal-line stands in Super Bowl history," he said.

He also singled out quarterback Joe Flacco for his MVP performance in the title game and championship season.

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"And I'd say that if you keep on playing like that, you're going to challenge Biden for the most popular person from Delaware," Obama said.

The president noted the team donated more than $1 million to charitable causes last year, helped young people get active with its Play 60 campaign, talked to members of a Maryland National Guard unit stationed in Afghanistan via Skype during Thanksgiving. He noted they also will be hosting a youth football clinic and donating uniforms to 42 football and girls basketball teams in Baltimore.

That, he said, is "a testimony to the connection they feel to this city."

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