Roles change. Relationships don't have to.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh is looking forward to his continued alliance with General Manager Eric DeCosta.
The two men have forged a close relationship over the 11 seasons that Harbaugh has been the team's head coach. DeCosta has been with the Ravens since their first year in 1996, but he officially moved from assistant general manager to general manager on Jan. 11, replacing Ozzie Newsome, who has remained in the front office.
It's a new era for the Ravens, but the same people are involved. At Friday's press conference, where Harbaugh's new four-year contract was a major topic of discussion, the coach looked at DeCosta sitting in the auditorium and expressed enthusiasm about working with someone he knows so well.
"Taking the reins, man, taking the reins, and we're excited," Harbaugh said. "Eric's energy and his passion and his ideas, it's exciting. So, it's a new start, yet we've been together, side-by-side, for 11 years."
It took a few weeks for the final details of Harbaugh's new contract to be settled, leading to speculation that Harbaugh may have asked for final say in personnel decisions. Harbaugh said that wasn't the case.
"[My role is] the same, and that's all we ever wanted. That's all I ever wanted," Harbaugh said.
Owner Steve Bisciotti, DeCosta, Newsome, Harbaugh and others will continue working as a team to do whatever is best for the Ravens. During Harbaugh's 11 seasons as head coach, the Ravens have been one of the NFL's winningest organizations, making the playoffs seven times and capturing Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 season.
"I have great confidence in the way the organization is built, the way it's been built from the beginning," Harbaugh said. "This has never been an organization that's about lines or silos or anything like that. This is an organization that works together. We cross paths and we talk everything out – football, scouting, medical, weight strength and conditioning, everything you can think of.
"To me, it doesn't matter who has what say over what. It's never been about that here, and I think Eric will probably reinforce that on Wednesday (during his press conference), but it's always just about, 'Let's do the best thing for our team, and let's talk it out and hash it out.' We rarely ever have a disagreement in the end. … You want to call them disagreements, challenges, conversations, you better have all of that. Everybody willing to say what they think, nobody afraid to express their opinion. Top to bottom and sideways, in this whole organization, people are asked what they think. That's like a regular conversation around here: 'What do you think?' To me, that's the way it should be, and that's why it works."