Ravens players will have some extra time on their hands over the next four weeks.
The offseason concluded Thursday with mandatory minicamp, and now the players, coaches and staff will have some time to unwind before the grind of training camp starts in mid-July. This is the final break before the 2014 season.
As the players leave town to enjoy some rest and relaxation, Head Coach John Harbaugh made sure to emphasize the importance of making sound decisions away from the team.
"We will always have the same high standard for our guys, and it's the same message," Harbaugh said. "There is always an emphasis – different types of emphasis – on different things, and we've emphasized what we need to with our guys. We have good, really good guys.
"Football matters to them. The more it matters to you, the less inclined you are to do anything to jeopardize that."
This has been an uncharacteristic offseason for the Ravens, as four players have been arrested in the last five months.
Harbaugh has addressed those arrests and said last month that he was "very concerned" with some of the offseason incidents.
"I'm disappointed in some of the silliness that has gone on," Harbaugh said. "Character is very important to us. It's something that really matters to us. We think that everything you do off the field has an impact on what you do on the field, and vice versa."
The veterans have offered their leadership to younger players during the offseason program, and expressed their confidence that there will not be any issues over the next month when players are on break.
"That's been going on since they've been here," linebacker
Rookies will be in Aurora, Ohio, for the symposium this weekend, where they will hear from a number of speakers about life in the NFL. Current and former players will talk with the rookies about the importance of making sound decisions in a variety of areas in their lives.
In addition to staying out of trouble, the other important message Harbaugh had for players is to make sure they return to Baltimore next month in top condition.
"This is a tough time to kick back, but you only have a couple of weeks before you're back here, and you have to keep your body in shape, you have to keep your mind sharp," quarterback
Players also know that the conditioning test will be awaiting them when they return in July, and Harbaugh will jump into a tough training camp practice regimen.
"We expect them to come back in tip-top shape, just like we expect them to come to this minicamp in tip-top shape," Harbaugh said. "We will start practicing full speed, and they're going to need to be ready for it."