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John Harbaugh: I'm Not Very Good At Halftime Interviews


Two days after a terse interview with local TV reporter Brent Harris, Head Coach John Harbaugh was candid and shared a laugh with the media (including Harris) about the incident.

Saturday night, Harbaugh criticized Harris' question about the fight with Steve Smith Sr. because it wasn't football related.

"Those halftime interviews are tough, and I don't think I'm very good at it," Harbaugh said. "I haven't been very good at it. I haven't been very good with the national group, haven't been very good with the local group. I think that's pretty well documented."

During the preseason, Harris has been the Ravens' sideline reporter tasked with asking Harbaugh a few questions just before he goes into the halftime locker room.

Unfortunately for Harris and Harbaugh, the Ravens have allowed touchdowns at the end of the first half in two of the three preseason games, including Saturday night, and the team did not have a good overall first-half showing in Philadelphia.

"Brent does a great job," Harbaugh said. "We've done shows together, and he's a pro and does an excellent job."

The issue isn't about Harris, but rather the difficulty of halftime interviews. Harbaugh is hardly the first head coach or manager to not have patience for a reporter's questions during a game.

"When you do it after the game, you have 10 minutes or so to kind of organize your thoughts for the media, but I'm not really thinking about the media in that moment," Harbaugh said. "You're thinking about your team and what you're going to say to your guys in your halftime adjustments. I've got to get better at that, and hopefully I can improve at that."

During Monday's media session, Harris tossed Harbaugh another question.

"Coach, I've got a 'football' question," Harris said, getting a laugh from the assembled media. Harris asked about the health of the team's returners heading into the final preseason game.

"That's a very good question," Harbaugh said with a smile. The light moment was in reference to Harbaugh saying Saturday night that Harris didn't ask "good" questions.

Harbaugh was also asked to clarify what happened when he ran across the field and ended up yelling at Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden.

Harbaugh restated that he went out to the field with the intention of breaking up the fight and said referee Terry McAulay appreciated it because he thanked Harbaugh for getting the brouhaha calmed down. Harbaugh didn't recall saying anything to Gruden on Saturday night, and he still doesn't know what he said.

"Jay and I, that was just a heated battle," Harbaugh said.

"I don't know what I said, but I will say this. For all those lip readers out there that want to write headlines about what was said, there's more than one word in the English language that starts with F just for the record. And I really make it a point in life not to use that word as much as possible. [I am] not batting 1.000, but [I am] trying really hard, and I always remember when I say that."

Harbaugh joked that maybe he said "fight" or "football," and said he's 99.9 percent certain it wasn't the f-bomb. The two coaches shook hands at midfield after the game and Gruden seemed to take more issue with the referees.

"But Jay was good with it. I was good with it," Harbaugh said. "When it was all said and done, I was happy that we were able to get it all calmed down and the officials [were happy], as well. As I said after the game, it was all fine."

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