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Ravens, 49ers Want Safe Practice Environment


The Ravens and 49ers have high hopes about what they're going to get out of practicing together for the next three days.

But they also want to avoid having the joint practices get out of hand with fighting between the two teams.

"We want to take care of the Ravens," 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We want to be safe out here, and we need them to do the same for us. That's the kind of environment where iron sharpens iron. That's what we're looking for. We're looking for good practice work. These aren't games out there. These are drills and we expect really good practices."

Both coaches have talked with their teams about expectations, and the coaches also addressed the teams collectively. At the end of Saturday morning's walkthrough, players from both teams huddled together to hear from the head coaches. 

"We both said the same thing essentially: we're here to get better," Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "In three days we want to be a better football team and we can't think of a better team to accomplish that feat than the San Francisco 49ers."

Along with keeping the shoving matches to a minimum, both teams also hope to get through the weekend without any serious injuries. Injuries have already sidelined a few players on both teams, and they don't want to add anyone else to the list.

"We'll try not to get too rambunctious, and you just try to make it through injury-free," wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said. "You make sure nobody comes out of it injured. You take this opportunity to get better and evaluate, but not get put on the injured reserve list."

Tempers can often flare up in practice during the grind of training camp, even when players practice against their own teammates. Players are competing for jobs and playing time, and practices are an ultra-competitive atmosphere.

The plan going into the three-day stretch is that all of the sessions will be in full pads, and adding another team to the mix will likely ramp up the intensity.

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

Coaches around the NFL have different policies regarding training camp skirmishes, as some coaches will kick players off the field for fighting. Jim Harbaugh recently booted wide receiver Anquan Boldin from practice for getting into an altercation with a teammate.

"We go case by case. It depends on the circumstance and situation," John Harbaugh said. "Mainly our idea is to practice fast. There may be a skirmish out here, but we're going to get back on the ball and get a play off."

Both coaches also chastised the media for focusing on the practice skirmishes that could occur.

"We're probably going to have 99 percent all great, positive things, but if there is a little shoving match out here, I'm pretty sure that's what's going to be on these cameras, and that will be country wide," John Harbaugh said. "And that will be everybody's take on how it went. That's how it is all the time. We're going to look for the positive, you all can look for the negative, as usual."

"We know that there will be many cameras assembled, gathered, and that's what everybody is going to be looking for – that moment where you can capture the negative," Jim Harbaugh said.

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