They are the letter sorters and equipment haulers, floor sweepers and the uniform washers.

They are Baltimore County firefighters, the behind-the-scenes backbone of the Baltimore Ravens, playing an essential role for the NFL’s hottest franchise.

It’s a tradition that began in 1996, when the Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore and four local firefighters volunteered their services to the city’s newest team. Soon, they became essential workers, were hired part-time by the Ravens, and grew in number.

“We had to assemble an NFL team in a couple months when we became the Baltimore Ravens,” said Kevin Byrne, executive vice president of public and community relations who has been with the club since 1981. “A few firemen came to us and said, ‘We work basically around the clock for three or four days a week, and the rest of the time we have free. You must need help with something. We’ll help you with something and do whatever you want.’ Read More