Ashley Lelie

Life in the NFL

By Ashley Lelie

Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Lelie learns lesson
in loss to Baltimore

OUR loss to Baltimore was my first as a professional in a regular-season game.

I can't really pinpoint exactly what it felt like, but, believe me, it felt bad. The bottom line is we could have played a whole lot better.

And never listen to anyone who says it's not tough playing in Baltimore, because it is. It was a learning experience, playing in a hostile environment like that. Their fans were into it and the Ravens got the upper hand on us from the jump.

I made two catches. The first one was a basic tight slant, and it went for a first down.

The second one was a corner route that got us close to the end zone, and we scored a touchdown on the next play.

As for my miss when the ball hit the ground, the refs know the rules a lot better than I do, so they know what is a catch and what isn't a catch.

They had plenty of time to look at it, so I have no complaints. It definitely would have been a good catch if I held on to it.

On another play, I was in the end zone, looking back after getting by the guy covering me, but the ball was too far behind me and I couldn't react. He jumped and made the interception.

One of the first plays early in the game, I got hit by Ray Lewis coming over the middle when the ball was overthrown. But it wasn't so bad. It didn't really hurt that much because I saw it coming and was able to brace myself. Plus, I was up in the air, and hits hurt a lot more when you're grounded. He pushed me, but it was nothing spectacular.

He was really prepared for the game and made a lot of big plays when his team needed it.

When Baltimore scored that field-goal return on us, it was shocking and something we didn't expect, but it was a really heads-up play by them.

At halftime, coach Mike Shanahan didn't say too much, but I could tell he was angry.

The team leaders stepped up and spoke and then everybody put their two cents in.

After the game, Coach told us we've got to prepare better for next week and play a lot better and harder, and that we didn't play anything like we're supposed to. He said we should look at this loss as a reality check and use it as motivation to come out better next time.

On the plane ride home, people were a lot more quiet than the ride to Baltimore. There wasn't too much laughter, and most people were upset and not in a good mood.

That was a crazy game, but a learning experience. I learned a lot -- like what it feels like to lose.

This week, we'll be practicing for our home game against San Diego.

I don't really know the Chargers' Toniu Fonoti, who went to Kahuku, really well, but I met him at a rookie symposium once.

And I didn't know until I got back to Denver that Baltimore has a Kahuku guy, Maake Kemoeatu, on the team.

The day after the game I did some signing for two card companies. I only signed about 300 cards. One time, I did 3,000.

Also, I just got back from the Coors Brewery, helping the United Way raise money and signing a lot of things and taking pictures with the employees there.

Former University of Hawaii receiver Ashley Lelie
was selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos in
the NFL Draft. His diary will appear in the Star-Bulletin
each Tuesday following Sunday games.

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