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John Harbaugh Using Legal Issues As Teaching Opportunity

Posted Apr 2, 2014

After three arrests this offseason, John Harbaugh emphasized the way he wants his team to behave

This offseason has been uncharacteristic for the Ravens, as the team has dealt with off-the-field issues stemming from three recent arrests.

Running back Ray Rice has been indicted on an aggravated assault charge stemming from a domestic violence incident, wide receiver Deonte Thompson was arrested on marijuana possession and offensive lineman Jah Reid was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges after an altercation in a bar.

The Ravens are allowing the legal process to play out in each case before determining punishment, but Head Coach John Harbaugh has also used the incidents as an opportunity to remind his players of the expectations placed on them by the team and the NFL.

“The fact that we’ve had these three run-ins in the offseason is definitely disappointing. I can’t say that we’re not ticked off about it because we are,” Harbaugh said. “At the same time, we feel like we have character guys and we feel like our guys know what we stand for.

“We will be restating it. We have been [restating expectations], individually and collectively to guys through email, and also through phone calls. We always do that. It’s always something we talk about.”

In talking with the media Tuesday during a coaches’ clinic at the Under Armour Performance Center, Harbaugh referenced a quote from Abraham Lincoln indicating the overall standard he has for his players. 

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him,” the quote from Lincoln reads.

The message from Harbaugh was that he wants his players to understand that their actions represent more people than just themselves.

“We like guys who prove it, and have respect for the organization and the city and the opportunity to be in the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “And when you leave here, you have to live that way. You’re a reflection of everybody – not just in the organization, but in the city, and the NFL.”

Harbaugh and the Ravens have stood by the players since their arrests, stressing that “we love our guys, but we don’t always love what they do.” All three players are still currently on the roster.

Harbaugh also spoke highly of the decisions Rice has made since the arrest to rectify the situation. Harbaugh and Owner Steve Bisciotti have both said Rice will still be part of the team in 2014.

“Ray’s situation will be addressed,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a timeline, and consequences for actions. I really respect what Ray is doing since and how he’s handled it and the steps he has been taking. When you learn what those steps are, you’re going to be proud of him, too.

“Nobody is perfect. Nobody sitting in this room is perfect. There are plenty of people out there with stones in their hands. Plenty of stones have already been tossed."

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