Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "Good seeing everybody – appreciate you guys being here. [Our] preparation is pretty much done. We just have to get ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually ready to play, and then go play."
**I know you guys have a lot of players coming back from injury, but for TE Dennis Pitta, it will be almost two years exactly since his last game. How excited are you to have him back? How excited are you for him? *(Luke Jones) *"Both. Yes, absolutely. He has put in a lot of work. It's been a long road for him. It's going to be good to see him coming out of that tunnel with the smoke going. I'm sure it will be a big moment for him, too. I'm looking forward to seeing him play. I'm glad he's on our side."
**With WR Steve Smith Sr. coming off the Achilles injury, he didn't play in preseason games, but you have seen him out here in practice. Do you anticipate there being any rust with him? *(Jamison Hensley) *"I don't really anticipate anything either way. We'll see. I have no reason to think that he won't play great. He has worked really hard, and he's a great player. Great players usually play great, when they work hard. We'll just let it play out."
This is, I believe, is the third time this team has had a home opener on 9/11 since that occurred. I'm sure you have a lot of thoughts on that.* (Joe Platania)*"I didn't realize that we've had three home openers on 9/11. That's awesome. It's an honor. I'm sure our fans in Baltimore feel honored to be a part of that. [There is] a lot of history here in Baltimore, with 1812. [People] can trace it all the way back through Abraham Lincoln and The Civil Rights Movement. It's pretty incredible. Baltimore has been at the forefront of just about everything in this country. It will be a great moment. I know that the Baltimore fans will honor the occasion in every way possible. We'll certainly try to honor it by the way we play. When we say that, who we're honoring, obviously, is all of our heroes – fallen and still standing. I would also say their families. We have a lot of moms and dads who have lost their husband or wife, and kids who have lost their mom or dad, defending this country. Not just that, also Wounded Warriors. No greater sacrifice could be made for all of us than the sacrifices that have been made by those who are defending all of us. We take that very seriously, and we intend to honor that the right way."
I wanted to ask you about the NFL's decision to remove the "probable" designation from injury reports. Are you in favor of it or concerned about it?* (Edward Lee)* "I didn't really care one way or the other. We just put out whatever it was or whatever we thought it was. If they said it was 50 percent [chance of playing], then we say, 'OK, this is about 50 percent.' We put it under that category. I don't think that will ever change. We never tried to play any games with it, so it didn't matter to us."
*Do you think it will dissuade from playing games with their injury reports? (Edward Lee) *"That's a good question. I don't know. Usually, you figure out who's going to play and who's not going to play pretty much. If you don't know, you'll see when they give you the report an hour-and-a-half before game time, you see who is actually going to play. I think it's much ado about not much."
TE Dennis Pitta
On his feelings heading into Week 1: "Obviously, I'm excited. It has been a little while for me, and I'm sure there will be some anxiousness. But, I'm excited to finally be back out there playing."
On if there was any doubt that he might not play again: "There was a lot of doubt, and there were a lot of days I didn't think I would be back in this position. I'm fortunate that I am.* *I'm just excited that I have this opportunity, which I didn't always think I would have."
On if he feels game ready, despite missing preseason time with a broken finger: "I feel pretty fresh, actually. I have been through training camp a lot, and obviously, it is tough to miss that amount of time, especially when I haven't played in a while. But, I have a week or so under my belt and feel comfortable with what I'm doing. I feel good with where I am at."
On if he anticipates having to wear anything to protect his broken finger: "I don't think I will. Fortunately, it was just a clean break, and that is fully healed. There is not really much you can do to prevent anything beyond that."
On if the people around him are more nervous than he is: "Yes. My wife is pretty nervous. She is always asking me, 'How do you feel? How are you doing?' [I tell her], 'I'm fine, just relax. I'll be good.'"
On if his wife will be attending Sunday's game:"She will. She will be nervous. I'm sure that my parents are nervous, too. I think that they are also excited for me and the hard work that I have put in to get back in this position."
On if it will be an emotional moment for him running out of the tunnel on Sunday: "Yes, I'm sure it will be. There was definitely a point in all this that I had to accept the fact that I probably wouldn't run out of that tunnel again. Being able to do that this Sunday will be emotional, but very exciting for me."
On if he recalls any specific setbacks he had where he wasn't sure he could play again: "Yes, I think the second time I dislocated my hip was one of those instances where I thought, 'Man I don't know if I will be back out there.' For a long time after I did that, I didn't know how I would recover. Having done it twice, I didn't know even if I would get to the point where I felt good enough to play again. It took a long time, and fortunately now, I'm in that position [to play again]. There was a lot of doubt throughout this whole process."