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John Harbaugh: Releasing Bernard Pollard Purely A Cap Move

Posted Mar 19, 2013

John Harbaugh said he has tremendous respect for Bernard Pollard, who was a team leader.

Perhaps the most surprising Ravens offseason move so far for fans and pundits was the release of safety Bernard Pollard.

Pollard, who had come to define what playing like a Raven is truly all about, was released last week in what General Manager Ozzie Newsome called a “difficult decision.”

There was media speculation that part of the reason could have been that Harbaugh and Pollard butted heads and that Pollard’s outspoken and fiery nature had worn out its welcome.

But Harbaugh spoke to the contrary Tuesday at the owners meetings.

“It’s a cap move, pure and simple,” Harbaugh said. “Bernard is another guy that I have tremendous respect for. We talked often. He was part of our leadership council.”

Harbaugh said he met with the leadership council, Pollard included, almost every day informally or formally.

“We talked [and] Bernard had a lot of input in what we did and how we did it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s tough, but in the end it comes down to that $123 [million cap] this year.”

The Ravens reportedly saved an estimated $1 million against the salary cap by parting ways with their top tackler (98) from last year. But in the salary cap world, every dollar matters, Harbaugh indicated.

“That’s a flat cap,” he said. “And when you start putting that ledger sheet together the reality sets in, and that’s where we were at.”

In terms of replacing Pollard, Harbaugh said the team is open to adding some safeties, but that he likes some of the young players on the roster.

When asked what young players could step up next year, the first name that came to mind was safety Anthony Levine, who the Ravens moved up from the practice squad in mid-November but broke his collar bone in his first game. He also brought up last year’s fourth-round pick Christian Thompson, who also ended the year on injured reserve (knee).

“Anthony Levine’s an interesting guy,” Harbaugh said. “We really liked him and he broke his collarbone the first time he actually got a chance to play. Christian Thompson comes to mind.”

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