Ravens Exploring Joint Practice Options


Training camp won't be the same family affair this year for Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.

After holding a four-day series of practices with Jim Harbaugh the 49ers last year, the Ravens head coach is reaching out to other teams about the possibility of joint practices now that his brother is the head coach at Michigan.

Harbaugh hopes to find a good fit with another team, but nothing is set at this point.

"We've talked to a couple of teams," Harbaugh said. "It's not an easy thing to make work. I know a lot of different coaches are talking to different coaches about doing that right now. We'll see."

Finding the right team is a challenge on multiple fronts.

Proximity is a consideration because teams typically prefer not to travel cross country during preseason games. San Francisco's trip to Baltimore last year was an exception because the teams planned for the joint practices around their preseason game.

Scheduling is also key because the teams need to find a time that fits for both sides. Making accommodations for an additional 90-man roster aren't easy – Harbaugh said thousands of hours were spent getting the Under Armour Performance Center equipped for the 49ers arrival – and it takes considerable effort on both sides to make that happen.

"There are some factors there," he said. "One thing is that if you're playing in the preseason, logistically it helps. That limits you a little bit and we don't know our preseason schedule yet. Then it has to work as far as room – meeting rooms, and showers and meals and practice space – you have to work that out."

Another significant part of the process is finding a team with similar football philosophies. The 49ers were a natural fit because the head coaches agreed on how to run practices and the level of effort they expected from their players.

That may not be the case with every team in the league.

"It has to work as far as the philosophy of practice," Harbaugh said. "Can we organize a practice that works for both teams?"

Despite the challenges, Harbaugh said that last year's practices were "absolutely" worth all the legwork that went into making them happen. Both sides made strides during their time together, and the goal is to replicate it this summer. 

"We came out of there feeling like we had three great days of getting better as a team," Harbaugh said. "Everybody felt that way. It was unanimous."

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