Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti met with members of the team Thursday to discuss the organization's social justice initiatives and upcoming plans in the ongoing battle against racism, and Head Coach John Harbaugh is looking forward to the next steps that will be taken.
"He came in yesterday (Thursday) and talked to the leadership committee about his plans and what he's planning to do and where he stood," Harbaugh said. "It was a really powerful, strong thing, how strong he really feels in support of the players. I can't divulge all the plans, but I want you to know it's not just talk, it's not just symbolism, which is good. It's action on a large scale. Our guys are fired up about that."
The Ravens open the season Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium against the Cleveland Browns, and much attention will be given to what players do during the national anthem. Harbaugh said Ravens players and coaches will respect each person's decision, whether he decides to stand, kneel, or link arms during pregame ceremonies.
"Our position is the same it's always been," Harbaugh said. "We respect one another. We treat one another with respect. We respect one another's opinions. We support one another. That's what a team does.
"We encourage our players to be who they are. When you're you, that makes us, us. Our guys are encouraged to do what's on their conscious and in their heart – not to please anybody else, not to be concerned with what anyone else's opinion is, but to do what expresses how you feel. It's going to be different for different guys, different for me than it is for other guys out there. I'm not going to impose upon anybody how they want to express their feelings. That's how we'll do it. We'll be standing, or kneeling, or clasping or whatever guys choose to do. But we'll be respecting one another."
Safety Chuck Clark said players appreciated hearing from Bisciotti before Sunday's game.
"Just being able to hear the ownership of this team and the head of this team back and support us, to know that they are on the same page with us, and they understand the things that are going on in this country that a lot of people are tired of … and players on this team that we deal with, they're tired of those things," Clark said. "So, they understand where we're coming from, and they're 100 percent supporting us and backing us."
Harbaugh Pays Tribute to Heroes of 9/11
Nineteen years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Harbaugh began his Friday video press conference by paying respects to the countless heroes who rose to the occasion during the tragedy.
"It's the 19th anniversary of 9/11," Harbaugh said. "I remember that because my daughter is 19, Alison, and she was born one month and a day before 9/11. So, we talk about that. It's interesting, this 2020 Class, many of them were born on 9/11 and then graduated in 2020. So, they're a unique group in that sense. They've shown some resiliency, right? And as has our country. So, (I'm) very proud of the folks that stepped up around the 9/11 time. Those of us who are our age, we remember it well and we're proud of the first responders and all the people in the building and all the acts of heroism that took place around 9/11."
Harbaugh Admits it Has Been Hard to Master Every New Roster Rule
The NFL will allow teams to promote two players from its practice squad before 4 p.m. on the day prior to a game this year. Harbaugh was knew that two players could be promoted on Saturday, but he laughed when he admitted that he didn't know the exact deadline for making such a move.
"I know I'm supposed to know every single aspect of every rule, but they've been changing so much," Harbaugh said. "I do rely on (General Manager) Eric (DeCosta) and (Director of Player Personnel] George Kokinis and (Senior Player Personnel Executive) Vince Newsome and those guys on that. If we plan on bringing guys up, it'll be done on time. I'm very confident in that, but I don't know the exact time on that. Now that you mention it, I'm going to go ahead and ask. Thanks."
After Watching Andy Reid's Face Shield Issues, Harbaugh Won't Wear One
Harbaugh had a little fun at the expense of Andy Reid, his close friend and head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City began defense of its Super Bowl title with an impressive 34-20 victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday night, but a lasting image of the game was Reid being frequently shown on the sideline looking through a foggy face shield.
Watching Reid eliminated any possibility that Harbaugh will wear a face shield Sunday, even though he has one in his office.
"My glasses were falling off today in practice so I thought a face shield would help," Harbaugh said. "I dismissed that after last night. Andy's one of my best friends. My wife did mention to me last night, in the Kansas City area, there's going to be a lot of Halloween outfits with face shields and mustaches, and foggy face shields. That was tough."