Practices With 49ers Brings Anxious Excitement

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Joe Flacco doesn't know what to expect when the San Francisco 49ers come to town this week.

The two Harbaugh-coached teams will face off in a preseason game Thursday night, and then the 49ers will stick around for three days of joint practices. The Ravens have never practiced with another team in training camp during John Harbaugh's tenure, so it will be a new experience for everyone. 

"I think it will be fun," Flacco said. "We fight with our own teammates, so it should be interesting to see how it goes with a different team. But I think at the end of the day it will be fun."

Note: Use the hashtag #HarbCamp on social media to join the conversation during the 49ers' visit to Baltimore.


The Ravens will host the 49ers at the Under Armour Performance Center, and the facility will be transformed to accommodate about 150 extra people. The teams will have separate areas set up as locker rooms and meeting rooms, but they will also share space like the cafeteria, weight room and practice fields.

Bringing in another team for practice will allow both coaching staffs to better assess their rosters against quality opponents, and also break up the monotony of training camp.

"I don't know how much hitting we'll really be doing out there but I know it's going to be a pretty tough four days," cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "It's probably going to [feel] like four games in a row during those practices. They have a tough team."

The Ravens and 49ers are naturally linked because of John and Jim Harbaugh, and their meeting in Super Bowl XLVII. Both teams have gone through roster turnover since that game 18 months ago, but the memory of the Super Bowl could certainly linger for some players. Smith even joked that he might wear his Super Bowl ring out to practice.

Flacco smiled when asked if he expected any Super Bowl trash talk.

"I'm not sure if it will have anything to do with that [the Super Bowl], but I'm sure there will be extra trash talk," Flacco said.

One newcomer since the Super Bowl is Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. The 14-year veteran has never done joint practices in his career, and he has no expectations for this week.

"I have no idea," Smith said. "Even though I'm a veteran, everything is new to me. Like last week when we did the practice at the stadium I didn't know where to park. I didn't know where the players parked. I'm a blind dog in a meat house. I'm just feeling my way through."

The idea of holding the joint practices with San Francisco was born out of conversations between the Harbaugh brothers, who routinely look for ways to mix up training camp. Bringing in the 49ers was a natural fit because the programs have similarities and the two head coaches clearly trust each other.

"We are going against a program that we understand what they're all about," John Harbaugh said during June's minicamp. "So we're not bringing some program in here that we don't trust, that doesn't believe in the things that we believe as far as hard work. It's going to be a program that mirrors what we're trying to do as far as working hard. To me, that's really important and I think we'll both get better as a result."

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