As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I’m almost sworn not to offer any kudos to the Baltimore Ravens, but it is the Christmas season — and no one is better prepared musically to remind us of that fact that Ravens placekicker Justin Tucker. Tucker kept his feet on the floor but kicked up his extraordinary pipes for this rendition of “Ave Maria.” Tucker sang this for a Catholic Charities fundraiser, the Baltimore Sun reports:

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker brought his pipes to a charity Christmas concert Thursday in Baltimore.

The special guest performer at Catholic Charities’ Christmas Festival Thursday evening belted out “Ave Maria” before a packed house at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Mount Vernon.

It’s not the first time singing in public for Tucker, who has sung in opera since college, according to the Sun. He lent his talent to this commercial for a brand of coffee:

I imagine there may be some who thought that was a put-on when it aired in September, but Tucker’s the real deal when it comes to singing. He may be the first NFL player to master the “Ave Maria,” though, which isn’t exactly a walkover of a song. This palate cleanser after a long week belongs in the Hall of Fame, even if it comes to us from …. say it!! … the Ravens.

ESPN has an amusing backstory on Tucker’s gig, too:

Edward Polochick, the conductor of the Christmas Festival, told the crowd that he didn’t believe Catholic Charities would be able to get Tucker for the event. He told the committee that he had heard the Baltimore Symphony and New York Opera failed to get him.

“They said, ‘Well, somebody on the committee knows somebody who knows somebody who knows the handler of Justin Tucker,'” Polochick said. “I said, then tell the somebody to tell the somebody to tell him that the Archbishop wants him to sing this year. Then when he is place-kicking, we know he’ll have the real connection.”

Have you seen the Ravens this season? They can use all the help they can get. (Yes, I know the Steelers can too. Shaddup.) Anyway, enough talk and kidding around — listen to this beautiful rendition of one of Christendom’s most beautiful songs, and let it be a wonderful entrée to your weekend. Bravo, Mr. Tucker.

Justin Tucker Performs With Concert Artists of Baltimore

Tucker swapped his uniform for a tux last night for a Catholic Charities benefit concert with the Concert Artists of Baltimore (cabmusic.org).Nice pipes, Tuck.

Posted by Baltimore Ravens on Friday, December 11, 2015