Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Thanks for being here. [It is] a big day in the sense that this really does close out the preseason preparation for our season. Really, all eyes are on Buffalo right now. It's all about Buffalo. We've been working on them already. We'll continue that today, and we'll go forward. As far as the injury reports on that …" (Steve Smith Sr. walks by and interjects: "I'm not coming in tomorrow, coach. Or Monday!") (laughter) "We have tomorrow and Monday off – just for the record. *(laughter) *Along those lines, you'll have an injury report on Wednesday, as per the rules. We'll have an announcement on the final roster cut at 4 o'clock. When you have a roster like us, you're not in a hurry to do that. We still … I'm not going to say we have decisions to make, but there are other factors playing in right now, I'm sure, with Ozzie [Newsome] and his staff, in terms of opportunities for guys and all of that. The other thing is the practice squad. A number of the guys who get released are going to be invited back to the practice squad. We like to fill the practice squad out mostly, if not all, with guys who have been here, because we like our players. That's where we're at right now."
With TE Dennis Pitta coming back, is that obviously a good sign to see him out there with the finger injury? (Jamison Hensley) "That's an affirmative. That's a good sign.* *He looked fine today. Certainly, he has to get his timing back and work the rust off, if you want to use that term, and get going. He's back today, and he'll be back all next week, and I expect him to be ready to go."
Are you just bringing OLB Elvis Dumervil along slowly? He wasn't out there today or in the preseason games. (Luke Jones) "It's all in the doctors' hands and Elvis' hands. He came of the PUP [Physically Unable to Perform], and he worked a couple of days. I really don't have an answer for that. It just depends how it progresses and how it feels. When he's cleared to practice fully, he will be out there. I support him practicing fully; it won't be until he is ready."
Coach, did you use this practice as a chance to evaluate for the last time? Or had the decision been made before you went in to today? (Jerry Coleman) "The latter. This is a preparation practice. We have a bunch of guys out here. Even the guys out here today that won't be here later are guys that have become part of us, part of our team, part of our family. Whatever we accomplish this year, they'll have a stake in that."
Do you believe everyone out there – you said it the other night – will end up somewhere, or has a chance to end up somewhere? (Jerry Coleman) "Oh yes. Every single guy will be on, at least, a practice squad. Absolutely, that's what I think."
**Coach, G John Urschel was back at practice today. One, how did he look from whatever you saw? Two, is that a situation still being decided about who will start at his position? *(Cliff Brown) *"We won't really probably announce the starting lineup until the start of the game. There's really no reason for us to do that. 'Ursch' was a starter before he got hurt. We just have to play all of that out. It's good to see him back, and he looked fine."
John, not specifically about a certain player, but has the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return rule – not having to designate players – has that changed the thought process on certain things? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It gives you some options that you didn't have before. You'd like to be able to have more guys available for that, obviously from just a coaching football standpoint. The fact that you can leave it open toward the end of the year to see who gets hurt in the future after the 53-man cut, and also who progresses with their injury the best, and what your needs are, [provides options]. Those guys have to remain on the roster through this cut, and then you have to switch. I assume you're asking about the guys who are hurt right now. We would have to put them on IR [Injured Reserve] after the 53-man cut if we want to have them available for that designation."
*So anybody that goes … *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"Anybody that goes on IR before the 53-man [cut], to my understanding, is not eligible for that designation. I'm pretty sure I'm right about that. I have to check my handbook again. *(laughter) It never dies."
**There were reports that WR/RS Devin Hester had come through here and tried out. I don't know if that is true or not, but if so, how does that affect WR/RS Michael Campanaro and where you are with your return job? *(Jerry Coleman) *"He did come through. He worked out yesterday and worked out again this morning. He had a physical yesterday with our doctors. It is in Ozzie's [Newsome] hands right now, in terms of what Ozzie decides to do. Of course, it will have an impact on our roster. It is a key spot, and there are a number of players that would be vying for that spot."
Do you think WR/RS Michael Campanaro has done enough as a pure wide receiver if you have another guy at returner? Or does he have to be a dual player? (Brent Harris)"Being a dual player for 'Camp' or for Keenan [Reynolds] or for* *any of those guys is a plus. We always say, 'The more you can do, the better off you are going to be.' But, he has done enough as a receiver. He has proven himself as a receiver. All those guys that you would be talking about have proved themselves at receiver."
Is one of the nice things about WR/RS Devin Hester that he is both a punt returner and a kick returner? (Brent Harris)"Certainly. He is a proven returner, both as a kick returner and a punt returner. He is at the back end of his career, so you have to factor that in to your decision. That will be up to Ozzie."
Last year heading into the season, you guys had Denver, Oakland and a couple other West Coast trips you were in. This year, you don't have as much travel. How much less of a problem is it not having the added pressure of the travel? (Jamison Hensley)"It is definitely less of a problem. How much less of a problem is impossible to say. But, it is better not to have to travel that far."
You devoted a lot of time last year into sleep studies and everything. (Jamison Hensley)"We did the sleep studies last year, and what we came up with was that sleep is really valuable and good. (laughter) *Sleep is good – it was a revelation." (Jamison Hensley: "How much did you pay for that?") "More than we should admit, probably." *(laughter)
Have you even thought about the travel this year? (Jamison Hensley)"No, I have not thought about the travel. I'm excited to go to New York on the trains. I love getting on trains to New York. I do it with my family a lot, it is so awesome. Amtrak, woo! (raises fist) *(laughter) *That is going to be good."
For some clarification on WR/RS Devin Hester situation, when you say it is in Ozzie's hands, is it about working out a contract and can you work out a contract or can you not? You would like to have him, but it is just about that? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think it is a lot of things. That is part of it, and we have to decide if it is the best thing for our team. We have to weigh it against the guys that Brent [Harris] is asking about – the other players that would be up for that spot. There are a lot of layers to these decisions."
Does WR Devin Hester look good medically? Are you are fine with how he looks? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't want to comment on that; it is not for me to say. He went through a full physical; I can tell you that."