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Ravens Work Ethic Illustrates Hunger To Repeat


John Harbaugh knows all the history about past Super Bowl winners.

It's hard to repeat – almost impossible.

No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did it in 2005. The last seven NFL champions haven't even won a playoff game the following season. Some call it the dreaded "Super Bowl Hangover," the implication being players or coaches get comfortable or even complacent in their success.

Harbaugh hasn't seen that kind of contentment from his team this offseason.

"I'm excited about our mindset," Harbaugh said during an interview with 105.7 The Fan on Friday. "I know one thing: It shows up in the work ethic. That's the tangible evidence of where they're at."

Harbaugh didn't take much time to relish in the spoils of victory following the Super Bowl run. The day after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, his focus was already shifting ahead to the next season. 

"The next day I was already thinking about it," he said. "Maybe it takes the players a little bit longer, but as a coach you have to get back to the draft and the offseason stuff.  You dive right back into the work."

Harbaugh has seen a similar attitude from his players, especially the leaders. He specifically pointed to Lardarius Webb and Terrell Suggs.

Webb had his season ended by a torn ACL, and he's said that watching the Super Bowl from the sidelines almost made him feel like he wasn't part of the victory. Webb wants his opportunity to play for the Lombardi Trophy.

Suggs is motivated after serious injuries limited his production last season, and now he's the leader of the defense.

"Terrell Suggs talked to the team about how special last year was, but now you put yourself in position to do something really historical," Harbaugh said.

The other component for the Ravens is that they have gone through a significant roster overhaul. The team has lost nine starters from last year's team, more than any other Super Bowl winner.

"You start to realize that we have so much work ahead of us, plus we have a different team now in a lot of ways," Harbaugh said. "We have a lot of guys that have a lot to prove."

Much has been made of the Ravens losing players like Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Vonta Leach, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, but the struggles of recent Super Bowl winners has shown that keeping the roster together after winning a title doesn't guarantee future success. 

"I have heard everybody say that no Super Bowl team has ever done this [much roster turnover], and so that's not a good thing," Harbaugh said. "But it hasn't exactly been a recipe for success in the past."

With so much of the roster gone from last year's team, the Ravens have a whole new group of players competing to get back to that point. Players like Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff and Matt Elam have never played for a Super Bowl, and they want a ring of their own.

"I think we're in good shape," Harbaugh said. "The fact is that we have some new veteran guys in there that are very hungry and want to be part of what we're doing. We've got a lot of rookies that obviously weren't a part of it and don't feel like they're part of it. They have their own legacy to make. And then we have a lot of players that want to follow it up with another run at least."

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