Friday Availability: Week Four vs. Cleveland

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: “Good to see you all here. Thank you for coming out. It is a beautiful day to be outside. That might account for some of the reasons that we’re here. (laughter) Where else would you rather be, right? It’s just beautiful. I feel like our guys felt the same way [with] the way they practiced. We have 48 hours until kickoff, and everything we can do between now and then to get even more prepared, we will do. We’re looking forward to that.”

Can you talk about the influence senior advisor to player engagement O.J. Brigance still has on this organization? He turns 50 on Sunday, which is kind of a miracle, considering they didn’t expect him to turn 40. _(Jeff Zrebiec)_“No question. Nothing like this has ever been accomplished before. This is an otherworldly accomplishment for O.J. [Brigance] to turn ‘The Big 5-0,’ as he put it when he talked to the team. He had a great message to the team about tests and testing. He told me a few years in, I asked him, I said, ‘What do you make of this from a faith perspective?’ And he said, ‘I was really proud of my strength, my physical strength. It was something that meant a lot to me. It was important to me. I worked really hard at it, and God took that away. I know now that He wanted to show me that there’s even greater strength than that. It’s spiritual strength. That’s the greatest strength.’ And man, has he lived that; has he lived that every single day to the fullest. That’s what he brings to our team, just that example. And that expression, both in how he lives his life and what he says, through his machine and through his emails, that inspires everybody.”

Did you have senior advisor to player engagement O.J. Brigance talk to the team today? (Jeff Zrebiec) “He talked to the team yesterday when we had the birthday cake. The other thing he talked about was the test in the testimony. There is no testimony without a test. If you want to have a story to tell, it can’t be, ‘Everything was great in my life. We won every game. We scored every touchdown. We got every stop.’ It just doesn’t work like that. Who would watch that movie? (laughter) Nobody. That’s not how life works. What a message.”

TE Mark Andrews was back out on the practice field today. Is there anything you can say to update us? (Jamison Hensley) “Yes, he plans on being out there and playing. He’s back out there. We’re managing the issue that he has, which is not any kind of structural thing. It’s just one of those things. It’s part of the football season. I wouldn’t overthink it. He plans on being out there. If there’s a change in that, it will show up on the injury report. But I’m just being up front with you; we’re planning on him being out there.”

Did TE Mark Andrews originally get hurt on a specific play?_ (Bo Smolka)_“No, this is just a thing. You’re probably dealing with something like it, or some guys here are. That’s just part of life, just physical stuff. I know everybody is dying to know what it is, but you know I’m not going to share it with you. There’s no reason to, sorry.”

On a positive note, WR Marquise Brown is out there on a Friday. Does that indicate that the foot is becoming less of an issue? (Jamison Hensley) “I don’t know. It’s all like fine, parsed, ‘Was it a little more, a little less?’ He’s playing. He’s playing, and that’s what counts.”

CB Maurice Canady went from the practice squad to playing 31 snaps. How did he handle that transition over the last couple of weeks? (Aaron Kasinitz)“[He handled it] well. One thing about Maurice, I don’t think he ever got out of that mindset. His mindset, even when he was on the practice squad, was, ‘I’ll be playing.’ He told me that. He goes, ‘I’ll be playing real soon.’ He’s a confident guy, and he works really hard. He knows what he’s doing out there. I love his sense of urgency on the field. Yes, crazy turn of events, but knowing him, it’s not surprising that he’s playing so well.”

LB Chris Board took almost all of the first-team reps over the summer. Was his injury or the concussion a setback for him, and he’s kind of been slow? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I don’t know. That would be a good question for him. We just go by who’s playing well, when. Who’s making plays? There are plenty of guys … We want more production out of everybody, especially all those young guys we talked about earlier in the week. We’re giving guys an opportunity. We’re playing a lot of guys, because we want to play hard and fast. And you know what? Whoever steps up and does it will continue to get more reps or less reps or whatever.”

When QB Lamar Jackson breaks the pocket like he usually does, and you don’t know if he’s running or throwing, is that something that comes with experience with his teammates that they just get better at? (Jamison Hensley) “I do think that. I just think that’s something you have to learn, to just get to know each other. That’s it. I agree with you.” (Reporter: “How much, especially in the passing game, can that open up the second part of that play?”) “No question. We see it in the league all the time. We watched it in Pittsburgh all those years. That’s a real element that we’re still growing in that area. I’m excited about that part of it.”

TE Mark Andrews

On working through his foot injury: “It’s kind of been tough for me to miss these last couple practices, but it’s all a common goal. These trainers have an idea for me to come out Sunday and be 100 percent, and I’m well on my way there. I’m healthy right now.”

On if he’s feeling better each week: “No doubt, no doubt. They’re doing a great job with that. I’m feeling good, and I’m excited to play the Browns.”

On putting in mental work while not being able to practice: “Yes, anytime you have to get mental work other than playing, it’s a little different, but I’ve been through that before. So, not a big deal for me.”

On if the Chiefs did anything different in the way they covered him: “I don’t know if they did anything too different. I think as a whole, myself included, we just have to be more efficient. We have to make plays when they go [Cover] Zero and bring pressure. We have to help out Lamar [Jackson]. I’m excited for the challenge this week. Everyone has been focused up, and we’re looking to have a good week against the Browns.”

On the most interesting text he’s received from QB Baker Mayfield this week: “I got some tickets for him, for some of his buddies, so I’m helping out with that. But other than that, we haven’t talked much.”

On being a part of QB Baker Mayfield’s wedding party over the summer: “He’s one of my best friends, so anytime you have a celebration like that for one of your best friends, it’s incredible. It’s awesome to see him be able to find somebody that he loves. It’s just incredible being able to celebrate him and her at the same time.”

On QB Baker Mayfield getting custom Nike shoes for all his wedding guests: “Yes, he did, and he put a little inscription on the back of mine: ‘Top 5,’ so it was all good.”

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