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Post-Practice Interview Transcript (Fri. 10/24)


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement:"Good to see everybody. We had a really strong week of practice. The guys have been tremendously focused on a very difficult opponent, and we're pleased with where we're at right now as of Friday."

On how QB Joe Flacco and WR Derrick Mason connect despite having different personalities:"I don't hang around with Joe and Derrick in the locker room, per se, and see them interact too much, but they seem like they get along well. They laugh together. They've got different senses of humor, I guess, but it does seem like they get along well. They get along well on the field, and it's showed up in the way they've played. Derrick has been really good for Joe because you've got a veteran receiver that's been around, knows how to run routes, and [he is] someone Joe's been able to rely on."

On updates on the alleged bounty issue, what the NFL has done, where they stand, where the thing is going or has gone:"I don't think it's going anywhere. There's been clarification all week, and the NFL has done a really good job of communicating with us their concern. I think our people, headed by Kevin Byrne, have done a really good job of communicating with them the situation as it stands. I think I saw where [Terrell] Suggs came out just recently and gave a statement on it. I'm not exactly sure what he said, but the thing he's told me is his thought in his mind, he wasn't talking about money. He was very clearly talking about the fact that you've always got certain guys you need to stop and certain guys you need to look at that are physical players or good players or whatever. I think his meaning was real clear in the thing, and hopefully that's been cleared up."

On whether the NFL has sent anyone here to talk to anybody:"It's being done by phone. They have not sent anyone here, to my knowledge."

On if the league has set a timetable for when it would say it would do something regarding the situation:"[I] have not heard of any timetable. I think they're just trying to thoroughly investigate it and make sure they understand exactly what was on his mind and what was in his heart and what exactly he meant by saying it. To me, what he said today, I think it's probably pretty clear-cut what he meant."

On if it's tough to not let the situations with LB Terrell Suggs and CB Chris McAlister become distractions to the team:"It's interesting, because the stuff with the distraction stuff is so much more from the outside than it is from the inside. And, we had some experience with this a couple of years ago in Philadelphia, and what we found was, it's not as much of a distraction on the inside as people think, because our guys are going to work. I mean, we had three really great practices. We've had a great week of meetings. The guys don't think about it, they don't talk about it much. They might be jabbing 'Sizzle' in the ribs a little about it and having some fun with it, but beyond that their focus is on football. It's not something they dwell on, really at all."

On if, from his understanding, there have ever been any bounties on this team:"No. No, absolutely not. It's not something that I've ever seen in 10 years with the NFL."

On if he expects McAlister to be back in the starting lineup on Sunday:"Well, as we game-planned earlier this week, we talked about packages, and he's a prominent part in the packages this week. He will play a lot based on his knee right now. He's got some soreness in the knee that flared up this week. He took 11 reps on Wednesday, was unable to practice yesterday, was unable to practice today, so right now it's going to be really a game-time decision going into Sunday. I think we've got two days, and he's going to work hard to get it right, but it's flared up a little bit."

On which situation (Suggs or McAlister) is harder to deal with as a coach:"I don't think either one of them is that tough, really. They are situations that come up in the NFL with a football team, and we just try to deal with them honestly and forthrightly. The players have been good. And this thing, the thing about the NFL, there's so much scrutiny and it's such a competitive arena, there are going to be emotions, things are going to be said. Everybody's fighting because they've got a lot of pride, fighting to be as good as they can be, and as a coach you've got to understand that. And you just try to be forthright and direct, and [say], 'Let's put this thing together as best we can as a football team and go compete on Sunday.' And really, that is what it's all about."

On Suggs' statement that QB Troy Smith should be the starter:"Well, I mean he also said that what he was that he wants to see Troy playing. Could things have been stated better? I think he's gone ahead and said that, but yeah, we've talked about it. He cleared it up for me, exactly what he meant to say, and we move on. I take him at his word."

On if he's going to Suggs' birthday party:"I guess there's three days of celebration, right? Which day? I don't know if I've been invited, in fact. I'll have to talk to him about that. The Vegas style thing's tonight? [To reporter] It sounds like you're going. Saturday luncheon, Sunday brunch. He's not going to be at the brunch, I don't think. What about Sunday night? I heard it's not casual. You've got to dress up."

On Suggs being a playful guy, and if he's ever talked to Suggs about watching what he says:"I think with him, and with most of our players, you have conversations all the time about that kind of stuff. And he and I have talked on and off, here and there, since he reported. And that's come up, but it's not really a sit-down where we say, 'You need to act this way,' or 'You need to behave a certain way.' You know, he's a grown man. He is playful, he's excitable, and he loves football. So I think he takes some of it with a grain of salt. I mean one thing, and Kevin [Byrne] knows this, too, one thing I learned from Any Reid, maybe this is somewhat interesting, when you walk into his office, he's got a sign right behind his desk. It's two words; he's got it pinned up on his bulletin board. It says, 'Don't judge.' I think as a football coach it's really important to do that, because we're probably evaluators by nature.

"People have different styles, different approaches, different ways of saying things. If you understand where a guy is coming from in his heart, that's the most important thing. And I guarantee you, in the two situations that you talked about that seem to be getting so much media attention this week, those two guys have great hearts. They're good people, they've got a lot of pride, they're competitors, and they want what's best for their football team. So I think we understand that, as a coach and as an organization, and that makes it easy to go forward."

On how Mason is feeling after missing practice Wednesday and today:"He's feeling better today. He had some headache issue, very severe, and he was in the meetings today. But we decided to hold him out of practice today."

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