JOHN HARBAUGH SEASON-ENDING PRESS CONFERENCE
Opening statement:"Thanks for being here. I appreciate seeing you guys. Obviously, we'd rather be talking about a game that we're about to play as opposed to a season that we just finished up, but we understand there is only one team that gets to enjoy that type of success every year.
"[I have] just a couple of thoughts: I thought the team, the players did a great job. I told them after the game there probably has never been a team that I've had a chance to be a part of – in 31 years as a coach, four years as a college player, all those years in high school and junior high – that I can remember a team that really let so little get in the way of them being the best they could possibly be, and really, directed all their energy and all their efforts toward the task at hand, and helping each other be the best players and people they could be and trying to win the next game. And because of that, they were the best that they could be, we felt like, throughout the course of the season, through all the adversities, challenges and even into the last game. I'm proud of those guys for that. That's about the best thing you can say about a group of guys, coaches and players. And then the fans were just tremendous all year. Our fans are passionate. They want to see us do well; they live and die with us. I can't drive anywhere without seeing Ravens flags on cars. And whether it's a team bumper sticker or a 'Relentless' bumper sticker or whatever it is that our fans take so much pride in, when you see that as a coach – and probably our players feel the same way – you see that on a car, man, it makes you feel really good. It makes you feel proud to see people wearing their Ravens gear around town. Especially on Purple Friday, it's unbelievable. So, those things are really special [and] mean so much. It really motivates you to really want to do well and put the best team together that we possibly can going forward. Those two things are probably the things I wanted to say the most, and then open it up to your questions."
Coaches tend to speak in absolutes – you want to get better at everything, you want to win every game. But can any solace be taken out of the fact that this team took a lot of body blows and you were one of the last eight standing?* (Joe Platania)*"That's a great point. You never want that to be misconstrued as being satisfied in any way, but in some ways … There's a difference between being content with your effort and with the way you work together and becoming something the best you can be and being satisfied with any particular outward accomplishment. Certainly, we're not satisfied, but I'm content with the way it was approached and the effort that was put into it and what we became as a football team."
John, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak issued a statement Sunday night that he intends to stay here. The Broncos thing was already kind of in the mix … Now that they have an opening, does that stand? Has he communicated that to you that he intends to stay? (Aaron Wilson)"As far as I know, nothing has changed. I'm not aware of any change of anything that has taken place between then and now. Of course, I was pleased as heck to hear that, to talk to Gary about that leading up to that and then that day. I told him, 'That's music to my ears.' He's very happy here. His family is happy here. All the coaches really feel good about where they're at right now. So, as far as I know, nothing has changed along those lines."
John, [there are] a lot of decisions to be made during the offseason, obviously, but do you think that not as many as a typical team would have to go through during the offseason? It doesn't seem like there has to be a lot that has to be fixed. (Dave Ginsburg) "That's a really great observation, and that's probably one of the things I'm so excited about. Talking to the team the day after the game and even in the locker room after the game, this is something that you always have your mind on as a coach. 'OK, where are we, but where are we going?' And it's pretty clear cut some areas that we have to improve in, and those areas are areas that guys that are already on the team can help us with and guys that we can potentially bring in to be a part of what we're doing and things we can do coaching-wise, obviously, to improve. We have a solid foundation of a football team underneath us right now. [We have] young guys who have turned out to be good players that are going to be good players going forward that are going to be here, and we can build on that. And that's very exciting."
Coach, you mentioned the coaching staff. There has been talk that Ravens secondary/assistant head coach Steve Spagnuolo could go and interview for the defensive coordinator job with the Giants. Where do we stand with that? (Jerry Coleman)"Steve has been given permission to interview for that job. I believe he is going tomorrow to do that interview, so we'll see how that plays out. Steve is a great coach. He's done a great job with the guys throughout the course of the season. Obviously, [he is] a tremendously experienced coach. He's been a head coach, been a coordinator, and that's not something that we would want to hold him back from as an opportunity. I don't know what is going to happen with that, but that's something that he deserves an opportunity to look at."
Along the lines of what you were talking about earlier, can you talk about the growth of some of those young players – not only the rookies, but also second-year players that really stepped up this year – and what it means going forward? (Ryan Mink)"It's interesting because after our team meeting, we had our first- and second- year guys stay in the room. I brought them down close in the first three rows there and talked to them about the unique challenges that they face and opportunities that they have going forward. And we talked about how many players come and go in the National Football League every single year. There are 400-500 new players coming into the league that have a chance to make it every year. The average lifespan of an NFL player is three-and-a-half years. Those are the guys that make teams, let alone the number of guys that play a lot longer than that. It goes to three-and-a-half as a … I don't know if it's a mean or a median, but it's an average. So, just as soon as you are in this league, sometimes you're out of it. And you have to realize that you have to improve dramatically to maintain and to build a career in this league. They have an opportunity to do that, but they have to understand that they have to be a better football player when they come back in mid-April than they are leaving here this week. And that's their challenge right now, and they're going to have to meet that challenge or things aren't going to work out well for them."
**The coaching staff, are you guys inclined to coach the Pro Bowl, with the NFL wanting you guys to do that? *(Aaron Wilson) *"Yes, thanks. We were contacted about that late last night and we decided this morning finally to go ahead and do it. I polled our coaches and wanted to see how they felt about it, and they all were excited about coaching in the Pro Bowl. We're looking forward to doing that. Right now, we are preparing to put a couple of schemes together and go out there and coach a game."
Do you feel like there are some things that can be … You can get exposure to other players, they see you guys, and also, you get to coach your guys one more time? (Aaron Wilson) "A couple of coaches mentioned that. We don't have to stop coaching right away. We get to coach a little bit more, which is nice. Also the fact – I mentioned a few times regarding Steve Smith [Sr.] and other players – you get to know guys. I got to know Steve really well way back at his first Pro Bowl. That's always a fun part of it, getting to know some of the players around the league. And then you're right, guys [from our team], like maybe Justin Forsett is going to get in there, I'm hopeful. Kyle Juszczyk made it now, along with the other guys we know about. "
John, you obviously, every year you send players off at the end of the year [and] you want them to have a good offseason behaviorally. Did you do anything differently this year as far as exit counseling that you might've done before? Or what has happened in the last 11 months done that for you? (Peter Schmuck)"I tend to think probably what you just said is true. We've had NFL-mandated and team-sponsored counseling-type sessions throughout the course of the season. That's been something that's been attacked with enthusiasm along those lines, especially with the young guys. As we left the building, I think it was enough to do to remind the guys that how we handle ourselves is always important. Our name is the only name we have. At the same time, there's a different conduct code in place for all of us – coaches, players, front office personnel. Everybody is going to be under a different type of scrutiny from here on out. And that's a good thing. Understand that it's real, it's serious, and they need to be aware of that."
As somebody who coached Ray Lewis at the end of his career the last five years or so, can you talk a little bit about LB C.J. Mosley and his introduction in the National Football League? (Stan Charles)"By way of comparison, if I could, I would lead into this thought: Daryl Smith deserves a lot of credit as it applies to Ray Lewis, because Ray Lewis is an iconic Raven and means a lot to the city and to football. For Daryl Smith to come in and to fill those shoes, so to speak, to be the guy who replaces Ray Lewis at that position, and to play the way he has and to carry it out the way he has where we all feel so good about who he is as a person, and really to allow Ray to still flourish in his way, that says a whole lot about Daryl Smith – the kind of player he is and the kind of person he is – and that's really where it starts. C.J. Mosley is the next young, great linebacker if he chooses to do all the right things and if he gets a little good fortune. He played this year at a high, high level – a Pro Bowl level. [Inside linebackers coach] Don Martindale deserves a lot of credit for that, as does Daryl Smith. But C.J. deserves the most credit. He is a fine young man; he is a hard worker; he is very talented; he gets football. This [rookie] class is probably the smartest overall football I.Q. class that we've had, and that goes a long way in why they've done so well as a group. So, that's something we can hang our hat on a little bit going forward in the draft. Those smart guys tend to do a pretty good job as young players."
John, after the game, of course, with the Patriots' substitutions [getting] a lot of attention … A couple days removed, what are your thoughts on that? (Jamison Hensley) "My thoughts are the same as they were during the game and after the game: It was about the mechanics of the officiating. I never had an issue with the formation – never even brought that up. It wasn't about the formation at all. And I had a chance to talk to [referee] Bill Vinovich during the game, and he addressed it. He said that was right. There's a certain timing that goes with that in terms of the referee getting back in position to referee the game, and the ball was being snapped so quickly he didn't have a chance to do that. Plus, the other interesting thing is that the signal for an eligible receiver and an ineligible receiver is the same. It's a little difficult to determine what the official is actually signaling in the heat of battle when it's done that quickly. Bill was great about it; he said he would slow it down. He went over and told their sideline the same thing, and we didn't see it after that. I thought it was well handled. Talking to the league after, since then [NFL vice president of officiating] Dean [Blandino] has told me that it's being looked at, mechanics are being looked at and some changes will have to be made. In no way did I think it determined the outcome of the game. I was asked about it and answered it."
John, the decision to have T James Hurst start on [Saturday], even though T Eugene Monroe was active, was that about Monroe being less than 100 percent? And is Eugene still your starter moving forward, even with Hurst filling in the way he did? (Luke Jones) "It was exactly that. And we talked about that, 'Who do we put up?' Eugene wasn't 100 percent, but we felt like he was enough to be a good backup for us. If we lost one of the tackles, we'd probably rather be able to put Eugene in there at less than 100 percent than have to shuffle the offensive line around again. And credit to him for getting himself back into that kind of a position. But as far as playing the left tackle spot the whole game, where he was at, James was the better option. But Eugene is our starter going forward, and we're happy to have that be the case."
John, where do you stand with WR Torrey Smith? He was a little critical of himself [with] the way he played this year, but he did score a lot of touchdowns. He's an unrestricted free agent. Do you see him fitting in here next year? (Dave Ginsburg) "That's a good question. I love Torrey, and he's been a huge part of what we've done since he got here – great part of the community, all those things, made a ton of plays for us. We're going to have our personnel meeting tomorrow where we'll get the whole organization together – position coaches right up to [owner] Steve Bisciotti – and we'll talk about every single guy on our roster in detail. And out of that, then we'll travel down to Florida after the Pro Bowl with [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] and [president] Dick [Cass] and Steve and [assistant general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and [senior vice president of football administration] Pat Moriarty, and we'll spend a lot of time looking at the salary cap and talking about our roster going forward, and we'll make some big decisions there. At that point, we'll know how we're going to approach free agency and we'll have the details worked out. Right now, I don't have that answer, because we haven't gone through those meetings yet. But personally, and I think I speak for everybody when I say we like Torrey a lot, we'd like to have him back. So, we'll just have to see how it plays out."
John, out of necessity, G/T Marshal Yanda played some right tackle. Did that open your eyes as to a possibility there when you come into those salary cap ramifications and things like that? (Stan Charles) "I'm trying to kind of stretch the question to the possible moves that would lead to. It didn't open our eyes, because we knew he could play right tackle, because he did it [in] 2010 or 2011 when he played the whole season there, so we know he can do that. But I like him at right guard. And we have Rick Wagner, we have Eugene [Monroe], we have James Hurst now – it's a pretty good group of tackles we have out there. Maybe Jah [Reid] is a guy we bring back, hopefully. So, I don't think we really need Marshal out there, and he's really good at right guard."
John, there's a bunch of head coach vacancies still to be filled, so I know there could be some juggling of various coaching staffs, and I know you addressed Ravens secondary/assistant head coach Steve Spagnuolo's [New York Giants interview]. Do you think, other than that, this coaching staff will be pretty much back in tact? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, I sure hope so. I'm recruiting those guys every day. *(laughter) *But, like I said, guys like being here. If a coach gets a chance to be a head coach in this league, you have to be happy for them. I don't know that anything else will come up. I haven't heard of anything along those lines yet, but if something comes up, we'll just have to deal with it if it comes up."
And just to be clear about Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, you've just not heard from him that he's changed his mind, or has he verified to you that the Denver thing hasn't changed anything? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I haven't sat down with Gary and interrogated him about it. Maybe I should. (laughter) That might be my next move. But, out of respect, he's told me he's planning on being here. Denver hasn't reached out in any way at this time, not to say it couldn't change at some point in time. If that happens, we'll cross that bridge when we get there, but I [don't] really want to put anybody on the spot like that. I want to be respectful. I'm planning on Gary being back. So, if that changes, then we'll deal with it if it comes up, but I don't anticipate that changing at this time."
John, you dealt with this a little in a general sense earlier, but as far as the secondary is concerned, do you view that as a major overhaul this offseason? Or do you think, with CB Jimmy Smith coming back, that it is not? (Peter Schmuck) "I've been trying to grapple with that myself. How do you define it? Because it's really not a major overhaul in the sense of everybody is going to be cleaned out and we're going to bring a bunch of new guys in. There are a lot of good players sitting in there because of the fact that we'll be healthy and the fact that we brought some good players in because of what happened this year. So, you have Jimmy, you have Lardarius [Webb], you have Asa [Jackson] coming back. Rashaan Melvin played really well. We brought in Chris Greenwood, who we like. Antoine Cason did a nice job for us; we'll have to make a decision on that and see where he's at in his career. Danny Gorrer is another guy that'll be coming off of surgery. So, we have some options there. We have a nice group to work with, including between two and four guys that have proven themselves as starters, even here as Ravens. And Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb are capable of playing at the highest level. Lardarius was really playing well at the end. We know he struggled early on. He was coming off whatever that was he had with his back and his groin that really slowed him down and didn't allow him to go through training camp and get that work in. But once he got his strength back toward the end there, he played really well. This will be the first offseason that he's had a chance to go into the offseason healthy. Jimmy will actually go into the offseason healthy. He'll be running here in a couple weeks, so he'll get a chance to get a full offseason in. Maybe four weeks might be the number off the top of my head. So, it's pretty encouraging that way, but that doesn't mean we're not going to be looking for more corners. We have the draft; we have, maybe, free agency. The same goes for safeties. We have some safeties we like, but we're looking at safeties, too. But that goes for every position."
**RB Justin Forsett is kind of an interesting free agent in that he's a running back, 29 [years old], but he has had a great season. Can you talk about – I know you don't know how free agency is going to play out – just his ability moving forward to be a lead back, and how much you might think that you would like for him to fit into next year's plan? *(Clifton Brown) *"I would like Justin Forsett back. I don't think I'm speaking out of hand there. We want to be as strong as we can be at every position, so that doesn't mean we're not going to try to bring more backs in here either. Justin will compete just like he always has. That's one thing about Justin, he knows he's going to compete, and I would never count him out for a lead-back-type role – not for one second. He proved that. So, we'll just have to see how that plays out. But I know one thing: If we can get him back, that'd make our team stronger going into next year."
*John, now that Jim Harbaugh is coaching college, does that change the kind of conversations that you guys can have in the offseason? *(Gerry Sandusky) *"Actually, yes. He has been a little more fun to talk to for some reason. *(laughter) He has been a little more open, outgoing. I've seen him smile more. I think I saw him smile more at the Pittsburgh game than I had ever, since the Super Bowl, maybe. (laughter) But I can't wait to go see him practice spring ball. We'll probably know the Michigan players pretty well, I would guess. So, they better get some guys in there that are high draft picks."
Coach, talk a little bit about WR Steve Smith Sr. and where you think he fits back in here next year, and [would you] like to keep him here? (Bill West) "[I would] like to keep him here. Steve has expressed to me now the desire to want to come back. And one thing that Ozzie [Newsome] mentioned to him – which made a lot of sense – is to take three weeks. Take three weeks and get a chance to take a nap, figuratively, and kind of decide how you feel. But Steve was brimming with enthusiasm last time I talked to him to come back and play a role – whatever role that might be. He doesn't have to be [in] a role where he's playing every snap or anything like that, but he looks like he still has plenty left in the tank to me. So, hopefully we can … It's up to Steve, really, in the end – how he feels and if he thinks he can do it physically."
John, in terms of guys in the offseason, do you anticipate any might be having any surgeries, clean-ups, things like that? (Aaron Wilson) "Only one that I know of right now is Rashaan Melvin has a shoulder type of a deal he has to do. If everything goes well, he should be back for OTAs and for minicamp. I don't think we had any other surgeries at this time after the MRIs came in, so that's good news. It's the best we've probably been."
**A lot of the offensive linemen on Sunday were talking about the promise that group as a whole had. What do you see the future as for the group with such depth and quality there? *(Jon Meoli) *"The future is really great for our offensive line. When we first came in here in 2008, we said, 'You start in the trenches.' A team is built from the trenches out, and we were pretty strong in the trenches this year. That's the foundation of our team, and we want to keep improving that and keep building on that, and we want to be as great as we can be on both sides of the ball up front. So, we have some really good, young players on both sides of the ball up front going forward, and we need to build on that."
Piggybacking off of that, what have you seen from the wide receiver group in terms of moving forward? (Ryan Mink) "Probably the same thing. We have some good, young wide receivers, which is, I think, your point. Between Kamar Aiken and guys you don't even know about, like Jeremy Butler, who didn't get a chance to play this year, we're pretty excited. Of course, Marlon [Brown] has done such a great job. [Michael] Campanaro in there … We have to get Campanaro to the point where he can really be durable through the whole season and get those hamstrings right. That's something he's going to go to work really hard on [in] the offseason. Paired with the possibility of bringing Torrey [Smith] back or Steve Smith Sr. back … There are other guys in there that we aren't going to get a chance to talk about. It doesn't mean we won't add a guy or two, but that's a good, young corps of wide receivers."
**TE Dennis Pitta, is there anything on his future? *(Brett Hollander) *"No, nothing new. I talked to Dennis [Pitta] today, and he's going to see a couple specialists this week. [We are] looking forward to seeing what they say. But he was working out today, so that seemed to be positive to me."
You said before that you anticipate TE Dennis Pitta coming back. Has any indication changed that thought process? (Jamison Hensley) "No. No indication has changed that. I will say that I'm cautiously optimistic because of the injury. We all sit in here [and] all of us would be [like], 'OK, is this going to be good?' We want to make sure he's going to be totally healthy, totally safe as much is as reasonable in football to make sure that hip is sound and everything before our doctors would ever clear him. In the end, it will be up to the doctors and Dennis to determine that."
Change happens in this league as far as coaching staffs throughout the league, but it seems like even nowadays coaches that are winning 11, 12 games are not coming back. Does it make you appreciate what you have here and what you've built here this far? (Jamison Hensley) "Yes. I don't know if there's any way to comment on what goes on around the league with other situations. Obviously, I'm pretty close to the one with my brother [Jim Harbaugh], which I'm still at a loss about in a lot of ways. But I'm happy for him, because I think he's going to be in a great situation going forward. But it does make me count my blessings. And I think all of our coaches … I know they feel that way, because here we are in an organization that from top to bottom is as well run with as good of people as you could ever hope for. So, I thank God. I'm grateful for it every single day. And it starts with [owner] Steve Bisciotti, the kind of person he is and the kind of leader he is. He wants to help. He wants to make us better. He wants to be in your corner. That's the kind of leader, boss that makes a difference. [General manager/executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome], [president] Dick [Cass], [individuals] throughout the organization – whether it's our trainer, our equipment man –everybody in this organization does such a phenomenal job. So, I guess the short answer is, 'Yes.'"
John, I know you touched on the secondary a bit, but how impressed were you with S Will Hill. You guys used a lot of safeties at various points, but second half of the year he really emerged as an every-down guy. (Luke Jones) "Will Hill did [impress]. He has a lot of talent, and it's something that we always knew. He also has a great love for the game. He learned our defense throughout the course of the season, which it's not easy to do that. We have a tough defense. We do a lot of good stuff back there. But he was running the show pretty well back there toward the end of the year. Having the offseason, having the OTAs and the minicamp and the training camp is only going to really help him tremendously, as far as being a really good safety for us. And I'll say this: We put it on his plate a little bit. We're challenging him for the next three or four months. 'Are you going to come back a better player than you were when you left here in January, and is that slate going to be clean?' We fully expect it to be. He just had a baby. He's doing great with his family, and we fully expect him to do a great job with that, and we're going to try to help him anyway we can with that."
Coach, going back to the Pro Bowl, you're an intense guy and it has been known as kind of a laissez-faire game. How are you going to motivate these guys to play hard? (Jerry Coleman) "We did talk about that today. We're going to implore them … Not that we're going to ask them to play … Well, be careful, because they're going to play hard. We're going to implore them to play a little harder than the other guy [and] see where that takes us. But I saw the game last year. I thought it was really well-played. They pick teams now, and they have some celebrity ex-players who are running the show on that. So really, as coaches, we just coach the game. But I'm going to have a good halftime speech ready. I'm going to motivate them. You know there's a difference between the winning share [of money] and the losing share, right?" (Reporter: "That will be part of the speech?") "That's a big motivator for anybody." (Reporter: "And the practices will be intense?") "Live-scrimmage type contact?" (Reporter: "Yes. Will you let me sit down and watch in Phoenix?") *"To sit down and watch practice? Sure, you can sit at that one. *(laughter) They won't be very long, I promise you. I promise [the players] they won't be very long."
Has your threshold of tolerance for, shall we say youthful indiscretion, has that changed going into this offseason from previous years? (Peter Schmuck)"That's an organizational decision. It's hard for me to stand up here and say that my threshold is the determining factor, because it's not. It's something that we all get together and talk about as a group. The landscape has changed, without question. And I think the threshold is … How did you word it?" (Reporter: "Threshold of tolerance.") "I think it's changed, without question. And I told the guys that. That's something that they need to understand, and I don't think that's a bad thing at all. It's a privilege to play in the National Football League. It's a privilege to be a part of the Ravens. There's a standard to uphold there, and we expect them to [do that]. We've always expected them to do that. But I would think that it will be a little bit shorter leeway, maybe than it's been in the past."
Has [owner] Steve Bisciotti sent that message, too? (Peter Schmuck)"We haven't had that conversation yet, but I'll bet that's something we talk about when we go down to Florida, and that'll be probably laid out. We'll have that conversation; we'll talk about all that. But I know Steve believes that. I believe Steve feels that way, and Ozzie [Newsome] does too, and Dick [Cass] does, too. I don't really want to speak for anybody else, but I guess I'm saying the answer is probably, 'Yes' to that."
John, when you go to Steve's house in Florida, I know you mentioned you'd talk about salary cap stuff. But just your general feeling, do you feel like there's a little more flexibility this year? I know you guys have got a lot of free agents, but do you feel like you have a little more flexibility to work? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I do. I do get that feeling. Until I see the hard numbers, I really don't want to trust a feeling on that. But it might be a little better in that sense."
And speaking specifically about a certain player, how important is it to work something out with NT Haloti Ngata, similar to what you guys were able to do with OLB Terrell Suggs last year? (Jeff Zrebiec)"I think everybody knows the answer to that, but I don't really want to get into too many specific situations right now until we come back with a plan. But, we all know the answer to that question."
Coach, are there certain rules, now that you've gone through this season, that you'd like the competition committee to really look at, that you maybe struggled with this year? (Bill West)"We just got the survey on that today, so I haven't had a chance to really lay that out off the top of my head. But there are some things that we're going to look at. I think the replay thing is something that we've been in favor of for three years now, of reviewing helmet-to-helmet-type hits on defenseless players. That's got a chance to go to review. I think more than that even has a chance to be included in review; we're for that. We voted for that last year. Pass interference, I think, needs to be looked at. Hopefully that's something they'll take a good, hard look at. Those types of things that we've talked about with the competition sub-committee will all get looked at, and I'm sure there will be some changes."
John, you mentioned the offensive line. Your thoughts on [offensive line coach] Juan Castillo and the job he did developing the young guys? (Aaron Wilson)"Juan did a great job. I feel like Juan is a great coach; I feel like he's always been a great coach. He's a hard worker, [and] nobody takes it more personally than Juan. He did a great job this year."
S Matt Elam said last week that he didn't initially handle his reduced snaps well, and sort of gained a new perspective and learned to deal with it a little better. Have you seen growth there heading into the offseason? (Jeff Zrebiec)"His practice production and effort did improve. And he's never done a bad job with that. He's always … But I think he was more consistent over the last six or seven weeks than he had been at any time since he'd been here before. He really put a lot of effort into it and did improve as a player because of that."
John, I saw you in the locker room after the game having a pretty intense conversation with WR Steve Smith Sr. Talk about his outward competitiveness and what that brought to this team. (Stan White)"Like a lot of real competitive guys, sometimes it takes a moment for people around to understand, 'Where is this coming from?' He had mentioned that he feels like he fits in here. So, I think that we're good about that as a group, team and an organization – of taking people where they're at, trying to look at their heart – and I think everybody felt like, 'Hey, this guy is a competitor. This guy is a fighter. He's a battler. He wants to do well and it matters to him.' And as long as the guys felt that way about him … I know they felt good about him, and they felt that way about him all year. That's how I feel about him. I think he was a huge addition to our team this year. We wouldn't have had the season we had without Steve Smith on our team this year, and I'm really happy for him for that – proud of him and happy he's on our team."