Training Camp Transcript - First Practice


Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "It's really nice to see everybody. I'm proud of our guys. I will say this – I think it's an old saying that Kevin [Byrne, senior vice president of public/community relations] kind of reminded me: The mind is willing, but the body is weak. From a football standpoint, our guys are getting after it. We're short a bunch of guys because of these crazy rules that say your unrestricted free agents can't practice. You are going to have to ask [team president] Dick Cass about those because I don't really get it. But, I guess there is some kind of rule on that, so we will get those guys out here as soon as possible. These are guys that are fully healthy and ready to go, that want to go, that aren't allowed to practice. [There are a] couple of guys getting through the physicals because we haven't seen them since January, so the physicals take a little longer. I think [head certified athletic trainer] Mark [Smith] did a great job of getting them through the physicals, pushing them through and getting guys activated to practice. Some guys are going to be on the PUP [Physically Unable to Perform list] for short period of time, just so we can make sure that they're OK. [General manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome], [director of player personnel] Eric [DeCosta], [director of pro personnel] Vincent [Newsome], [senior personnel assistant] George [Kokinis] and all of our guys did a great job with getting our draft picks signed and our free agents signed. I mean, how many were there? *(Someone interject: "26.") *Thank you, 26. To get those guys signed and get them on the field – and I think all but two or three passed the conditioning test – that's pretty impressive for guys that didn't even know what the conditioning test was. We have guys that came in [to camp] in shape. I think our team, everybody so far, except for one or two guys, has passed the conditioning test. And don't worry, they will pass it soon enough. We will make sure of that. It was a good practice. I just think we have a long way to go and we have a long way to go in a short period of time. The other side of that is so do a lot of other teams. We just have to go further than the guy we are going to play, those four or five teams early in the season. That's where we are at."

On the team's overall conditioning and whether he is worried about injuries because of the lack of offseason workouts:"Good question. I think the overall conditioning is excellent. I'm pleasantly surprised by the shape our guys are in. We think they are in very good shape. We had guys blowing the conditioning test away. To come out and push through this practice, it's a tough practice. Talking about a three-hour practice and these one-a-days, they are going to let us know what the rest of the rules are going to be like. But, I am really disappointed in myself the last three years that I didn't think of this, this three-hour practice, and then doing the hour walk-through. This is the best thing for us. A game is what, three hours, three hours and 15 minutes? You have to train yourself to get ready and go out there and play like maniacs for three hours. Well, that is exactly what we are going to get a chance to do. So, I appreciate the [NFL] Players Association for getting that done, because this is a tough practice, and now we are going to get plenty of recovery time to have another tough practice tomorrow. We have also got the walk-through in the morning. This is the best thing we could have been doing, and we should have been doing it all along."

On what it means to have OLB Sergio Kindle back on the field after the injury last season: "I think it's great for him as a person. That's the No. 1 thing, to see what he has overcome and to be out there. He looked good. Obviously, that's one step, but I'm just happy for him. He had 'joy' written all over his face. He was even smiling during the conditioning test, he was so happy to be here. He practiced well, so it's going to be fun to see how he progresses, and we have high hopes for him right now."

On rookie T Jah Reid signing his contract during practice and getting right to practice:"He signed his contract, went down and ran the conditioning test and then he went out and practice. Just like that. He made it through practice. He is one of the few lineman to make it through practice, so I think that says a lot about him. He is an athlete. For a man his size, he can really bend and move his feet and he is picking up fast. We don't want to overstate it. How many weeks are we behind with these guys? And it's only one practice, but so far, so good."

On if the players are behind due to the lack of offseason workouts: "Absolutely. There's not even a question. There's value in those OTAs [Organized Training Activities]. It's mental, it's learning the offense, it's technique and just being in football shape. Guys talk about it all the time. If you haven't played, it's really hard to understand what that is. It's just, you can't replicate it unless you're out there at football practice, and that's what we'll do. But, that happens fast. Two or three days of this, four days of this, then we will get through practice in a real strong way, and then we'll really take off."

On CB Domonique Foxworth's strong practice:"He didn't seem to be hesitant at all. He seemed confident and looked strong, so that was a pleasant thing to see."

On LB Ray Lewis and the great shape he is in:"[He is in] maybe the best shape I have seen him in. Now, he has been in great shape every year, but I think this is the best shape I have seen him in, now in the fourth year."

On if the mental aspect of the game is the toughest part for the rookies right now:"Yeah, the first day wasn't too bad. Tomorrow, we're going to double it, and after that it'll be double again. What do they say? Knowledge in the world doubles every two years now? OK, in football it is every day. You double it every day, so that's how you pile it on. Normally, they have been through three installs already, so they have seen it three different times. This is really the first time they've seen it."

On the statues of FB Jason McKie:"I didn't hear anything about Jason [McKie], and we had guys cramping up."

On WR James Hardy and how he looked big and athletic:"Yeah, he looked big and athletic. He really did. *(laughter) *You are very perceptive. He has a chance. This guy was a second-round draft pick. He was highly-touted. We loved him in the draft when we looked at him. Obviously, it did not pan out up in Buffalo, but we'll see if he can pan out here."

On the play and situation of the team's cornerbacks: "Well, we'll see. We did have a number of them out here, as you know. With this unrestricted free agent rule, which you should ask Dick Cass about… So we'll see."

On if he is upbeat about getting another cornerback or if he feels good about the way things stand:"I feel good about the way things are, but I would also feel good if we brought another guy in here. As coaches, you always want as many good players as you can get and let them compete, because that makes everybody better. If we can bring another guy back in here, whether it's Chris [Carr], who we know and think a lot of, or somebody else, I would be all for it. But if we don't, I see a lot of good players out there, too."

On if rookie CB Chykie Brown gave the coaching staff a good look today:"I have to watch the tape to see, but I felt OK about him just watching him – him and the other 70 guys at one time." (laughing)


On what his conversation with G/T Marshal Yanda was like after he signed his new deal:"It wasn't long because he said he was getting in the car, and he drove all night to get here. He said, 'I don't have time to talk. I have to get in the car and drive now.' I guess he pulled over for about three hours somewhere en route and slept because he was passing out, and he got here in the morning. Obviously, he is excited to be here, and we're excited to have him. That's Marshal. I don't need to tell you about Marshal Yanda. He's a tone-setter for our football team. It would have been real hard for me to visualize our offensive line this year without Marshal. I just stood up here and told you exactly what we would have done. We would have found a way, but we don't have to find another way. We got Marshal so I'm very excited."

LB Ray Lewis

On veteran teammates being released: "There is no reaction to that, honestly. This is my 16th year. I've seen people come and go. I've seen some of the greats come and go, and that's the business side of it. I think every player who understands this business understands that side of it. It's one thing about being a player, it's another thing about the business. You have to take care of yourself and every move that whatever team is going to make is hopefully to better the team. I mean, we're not the only organization who is going through it. There are many organizations going through it, so with that understanding, you do what needs to be done. You know, it's not that we just got rid of those guys and we're totally done with them. I'm certain that they'll try to work out something and try to bring those guys back in whatever capacity we can."

On the organization's ability to adapt with talent leaving: "You've definitely got to tip your hat off to Ozzie [Newsome] and the front office and the different players that they bring in year after year – through the draft – and then you go out for free agency. And they just do so much through free agency and keep rebuilding that type of player who understands what Baltimore means, and that's where I think some of the credit goes. And then the other side of the credit goes to the player who comes in here to make it work. We have a lot of players here who really give everything they've got, not only on the field, but in the classroom. And that's what I think has kept us successful over the years."

On whether he thinks his presence has kept the team consistent: "I mean, I've got a lot of stories to tell. I always give whatever side it is, whether there's a good side or a bad side, whether it's on the field or off the field side to it. I think that's what my 16-year experience brings, just a lot of everything, from the ups the downs, the highs the lows, whatever it may be."

On the return of OLB Sergio Kindle: "I was speaking to Sergio before this even came back, and he told me the doctor cleared him, so I was more ecstatic for him just to hear that news. He's a young kid that has a future, and now he can really go and pursue what he wants to pursue. And now, to see him out there running around and to see the smile on his face, just to be back on the football field, there's just nothing more rewarding than being around that right now."

On how he stayed in shape during the offseason: "I tell you what: One thing that I think this down time did do, for a person like myself, is it gave me a lot of time to myself to be able to do anything I wanted to do as far as cross training in so many different areas, and that's what I did. I, just like I always do, I put in something different to make my body really respond to it, and I tried a lot of different things this year, and all of them worked. Most importantly, I stayed as healthy as I've ever been. And that's the thing, when you get away from all the cuts, all the hard cutting, and all of these things, and you can come back kind of refreshed. [When] your mind is more refreshed, your body usually follows your mind. And for me, I couldn't be more excited to kick the season off right now. Healthy, I cannot describe to you how healthy I am right now. I'm really excited for football."

On what he did to stay so healthy in the offseason: "It's so much, honestly. A lot of times, I don't like giving away my secrets. (laughter) I'll tell you one thing: One secret I will give, and I challenge a lot of, and I have been challenging a lot of athletes, is cycling. I think it's one of the greatest sports in the world. The respect, on what type of cardio shape that gets you in, with low impact, that's the key to it. To really be able to train as hard as you can train and get your heart rate as high as you can get it and then come back the next day and the next day and the next day without that pounding… I credit a lot of my training to a lot of my cycling. I did a lot of cycling. I became real big in it. First couple times I went out there I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I mean, the fatigue that you go through… But it's really a mind thing on how you have to breathe and just let your legs keep going, going, going, going, and then when you get on the field and you go back to running, running isn't the same because you can't take as many steps running as you can cycling. So that's one of the things that really, really helped me out a lot this season."

On the physical shape of his teammates: "Today was one of those days. One of the famous things I've used for years, and I kept telling people today, I don't care what type of training you did in the offseason. There is no other training that is going to get you into football shape but football. That's it. No other training can prepare you, because you have to react to everything on the move. Nothing is predetermined and things like that. So when you see the way we bounced around today, and looking at the guys who are back, you have to be excited. You have to be excited about where we're going – and we don't have a lot of guys in camp right now – and we understand that, but the guys that we do have in camp, the veterans that we do have, the bounce in our step is very exciting."

On how the shortened training camp will impact the upcoming season: "I think that the people who will be affected the most will be the young guys. They don't have the time or the opportunity to really grasp those things. Everything is fast, and if you're not a great studier, then you fall behind. If you're not a quick learner on the field, you fall behind. I think that's… You find those diamonds in the rough sometimes through that process. I think that every team has to deal with that, though. It's not like one team that has to deal with it. I think the entire League has to deal with it, and if anyone is going to be affected by it, it's going to be the young guys. But, I think the veteran teams are really going to bounce back, just like we did today, and really pick up where we stopped last year."

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