HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement:"It's a great day for football. It's a great day for a lot of things today, and it was a great day for the guys practicing which I appreciate as a coach. They were high energy and sharp, and we're going to need to be because we're playing a very good team in some tough conditions on Sunday. But we're looking forward to it, and [we're] looking forward to our fans being out there and being raucous. It's a good word, right?"(laughter) "What questions do you have?"
How is QB Lamar Jackson doing today?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "[Lamar Jackson] was feeling good, full of life. Full of life. He looked good out there, and he was back, and he's recovered."
WR Odell Beckham jr. was not out there today. Was it just a vet day?*_(Brian Wacker)_* "Yes. That was my [choice] to give him a [vet] day today. He had two really good days of practice."
QB Lamar Jackson missed the last five games in the past two seasons down the stretch. What a luxury is it to have him back this year for this last stretch and making a deep run in the playoffs?*_(Todd Karpovich)_* "Well, December football is so important. It's Advent. The Advent – we are seeking something in Advent, and we're definitely seeking something from a football perspective in December. So, that's what we're after right now. But we want to be at our best, and obviously having Lamar [Jackson] and all the guys where they're at right now are ready to go, [and it] is something that we're excited about. But we have some things to accomplish, and it starts with just playing our best football from day to day and from game to game."
S Marcus WIlliams is feeling better, and CB Marlon Humphrey says he's ready to go. How difficult are the decisions even on gameday with having all those guys ready to play and all those other guys who have contributed thus far, and now you have to make decisions in the secondary?*_(Jeff Zrebiec) _*"No questions there's going to be healthy scratches. We haven't had too many healthy scratches this year, so there will be some healthy scratches. [It's] not an indication of how well guys can contribute for us because they've contributed already so well. So, it's just going to be kind of strategic based on what we're faced with and what gives us the best chance to deal with whatever we have to deal with during the game personnel-wise."
What is the order science of how you pair guys up in the locker room?*_(Childs Walker) _*"The science of it? Well, there's a lot of science that goes into that. I'm a big science guy. Do you remember the Saturday Night Live skit when they were busting Tom Brady for not being a science computer. Yes, that. That line right there. Yes, like a science computer would." (laughter) "It's just a feel thing. I work with [director of football information] Megan McLaughlin, she's in charge of the locker room [with] lockers and who gets them and stuff. So, we just kind of work together on it and just move guys around as we go. It's … Really, you can put anybody next to anybody on this team. That's what it really boils down to. We do like to mix it up. We don't put them by position. We don't put them by jersey number. We put them by life and just move them around, and I think it helps. It helps guys get to know different guys, which is a good thing."
Do you have a chart for the locker room assignments?*_(Jamison Hensley)_* "Yes, of course. We're organized, science computer stuff – charts, things like that.
Are there any locker room assignments that make you chuckle and think about the idea of these two guys together. You don't have to specify which ones, but are there any that amuse you?*_ (Childs Walker)_* "Nobody has ever said [anything]. I've never had a complaint. Nobody's ever chuckled. Nobody's ever said anything to me about it. Everybody just goes and grabs their stuff wherever the name is over the locker. That's where they go, and we appreciate that."
Do the players have any say on their lockers or is it based on seniority?*_ (Noah Trister) _*"Occasionally. Well, usually the guys that have been here the longest get the best spots. I am conscious of that. I know what the good spots are, the good lots. They get the bigger lots."
Did you enjoy having former Ravens special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg at practice today?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "[It's] great to have Jerry [Rosburg] back. It was good to see him out there. It's always fun when Jerry rolls into town, and actually [I was] picking his brain a little bit. He watches us."
Does Jerry Rosburg interject on the field at all when he comes by to watch practice?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "He was out there in the middle of things. I saw that."
Does Jerry Rosburg ever stop coaching?*_(Bo Smolka)_* "No, it's definitely who he is. He gave me some good philosophy this morning, so I appreciated it."
Did you check out the European treble soccer trophies with Manchester City after practice today?*_(Ryan Mink)_* "I did. They're really big trophies." (laughter) "They're a lot bigger than ours. Our Lombardi Trophy is not that big. I don't know that the value is necessarily in the size of the trophy, although what [Manchester City] accomplished is pretty incredible. To win across the board like that – it's like a Grand Slam in soccer, right? I'm getting more into soccer now. We've had a chance to meet some people in the business – the 'other' football. It's really cool. It's a cool sport. Plus, I'm a big fan of the show Ted Lasso."
T RONNIE STANLEY
On how prepared the team is for the opportunity ahead and if they learned anything from the 2019 season:"That was a huge learning experience for a lot of us. A lot of those guys [from the 2019 team] are still on this team. We know what that felt like to kind of be riding the high road in the regular season and then, getting to the playoffs, and it means nothing what you did in the regular season. We know we still have the end goal in mind, that being the Super Bowl, so from here on out, every game is like a playoff game to us. Every game is a must-win."
On if he thinks the fan opinion that getting a first-round playoff bye is a bad thing:"I think that's kind of bogus. A first-round bye is definitely only going to benefit the team that gets it. You just have to use that time wisely. Using that time wisely is only going to give you an advantage."
On if there is anything in the back of the team's mind that it's possible to have a first-round bye: "We know where we stand, but we know in order to get where we want to go and get in that position we want to be in, we have to keep it a one-game-a-time focus and really put everything into the next game."
LB JOSH BYNES OFFICIALLY RETIRES A RAVEN
What is it like to see Josh Bynes retire as a Raven and see his career unfold here? (Luke Jones) "Josh Bynes is announcing his retirement as a Raven today. His whole family's here – his beautiful family's here with his amazing wife and kids. I know they're walking around here right now. He has a couple of sons that will probably be looking at Michigan here in a couple of years." (laughter)"Ozzie [Newsome] was trying to recruit them for Alabama already. Josh said, 'Absolutely not,' because where did Josh go to school? Auburn. 'War Eagle.' To me, Josh is a person, player, man who epitomizes the opportunity that football represents – the true meritocracy we like to talk about in football – that no matter where you come from, no matter where you've been, your background, whatever it is – how heralded you are or you are not, how much you're talked about – whatever it might be. The content of your character, your talent, your work ethic, your ability just to find a way to get the job done and produce in whatever the job may be. To me, that's what Josh Bynes represents. [He was] an undrafted free agent. People probably weren't betting on him to make the team even way back then, [and now] 12 seasons later. [He was] a starter almost every game in 12 seasons – a productive starter – making tackles, setting records for tackles – all the things he did and not just that. Past the football stuff, which you have to do, you have to produce, but [it was in] the locker room, the mentorship, the example that he sets for the guys by the type of a family man he is and the father and husband that he is. I think guys look at that, and it makes a difference. I know he's been there for guys just to talk to them and make a difference in their lives. That's what a Hall of Famer is to me. He's that kind of a player that deserves that kind of recognition in terms of being … All the accolades that he's accomplished as a football player, but a Hall of Famer in life and relationships. That's the beauty of football to me is someone like that, so without any further ado, Josh Bynes."
LB JOSH BYNES
Opening statement: "I'm not going to lie to you all, it's surreal. It hits you quick. I'm not an emotional person, but like 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] said, I just really appreciate every single thing this league has done for me. [I'm] just going to start by saying I appreciate my parents and wife for their support throughout this whole entire process of me playing football since I was seven years old to now. It's been a journey. I had something written down, but it just went out the window when you get up here. I'm not even [an] emotional [person], so I feel like I'm about to cry.
I'd just like to thank Auburn University first – 'War Eagle.' I know we came up short against Alabama, but we'll come back. Don't worry about it. Just for giving me an opportunity [for] a kid out of Fort Lauderdale, [Florida] just trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life then, and to take an opportunity to give me an opportunity to meet my wife, who also went to Auburn as well, so that's been a huge thing. I appreciate Auburn for that.
I appreciate 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] and Ozzie [Newsome] and Eric [DeCosta] for giving me an opportunity in 2011 to come here as a Raven. It wasn't easy at all. As 'Harbs' said, he gave me a little welcome-to-the-league moment my rookie year, but it also propelled me to go everywhere else and take that same knowledge and ability and take that to [the] Detroit [Lions]. I thank Detroit for giving me an opportunity. If they didn't give me an opportunity, I don't know if I would've been here. Thank you to [the] Arizona [Cardinals] for giving me an opportunity as well. Thank you to the Cincinnati Bengals. If they didn't give me an opportunity, I wouldn't have come back here in 2021 as well. Thank you to every single person for giving me an opportunity.
I definitely want to thank my wife for 12 years. I don't know how she did it being home with the kids this fall and seeing how they run around and being able to coach my oldest son and his team and my other son's team as well. That part has been really good this fall, and I appreciate every single thing this game has taught me and brought me. I can't be more grateful, but also [to] the Ravens. This is a class one organization. I just appreciate every single thing this organization brings. It teaches me and [allows me to] be able to welcome family. [It's] a family-first organization, and that's what this organization's about. I appreciate every single thing this game has done for me and my family.
I don't really have too much to say, but I love this game. I'm glad [for] 12 years. It's been a ride – ups and downs and all. I appreciate every last one of them, because they taught me moments that I can teach my boys to grow up and be one day. This Ravens [organization] is what it epitomizes every single day. Guys [are] just going to come out of nowhere. They're going to do what they need to do and be successful. Every single person that's come from the Ravens have always been successful somewhere. It happens all the time. Why? It starts with the head man [John Harbaugh] over there, and that's where it starts at. It starts from the organization from the top down – every single person – from Ozzie, Eric [and] the whole entire staff. I appreciate every single thing they've done for me and my family to be here. Thank you for 12 years, and I appreciate it."
On if he's interested in coaching and anticipates pursuing that in his next phase of life:"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you; I feel like I've been doing somewhat of that, even last season, [with] helping out even when I wasn't playing – with Roquan and 'P.Q.' [Patrick Queen] and just trying to get the guys ready for games and stuff like that, because … I'm really … I'm a selfless person, and I feel like, if one of us wins, we all win, and that's just my mindset. And I've also coached my son's eighth-grade football team – helping with defense – and had them doing some things this year. So, I feel like that has been something I've been wanting to do for a while. I know a lot of guys get to my age [and] probably get a little scared of that, but I'm fine with that. I played 12 years, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get into coaching and being able to, hopefully, pour that knowledge [into] other guys, and hopefully, they have successful careers, as well."
On what he remembers thinking about his roster chances and how difficult it would be stick around when he first entered the NFL with the Ravens:"Oh, yes. It was definitely … I knew it was definitely going to be hard to make the team, but I have to thank guys like Dannell Ellerbe, [current director of player engagement] Jameel McClain, Albert McClellan, Brendon Ayanbadejo, those guys, for just taking me under their wing and teaching me how to play the game – they were all undrafted linebackers – and how to make it and how to pretty much survive. And it was hard; it was rough – my rookie year – coming into an organization like this, where the expectation is at its highest. And you appreciate that, because it makes you get the best out of you every single time. So, that was tough. Obviously, I didn't make the roster [in the beginning] – obviously. But when I did get a chance to get a call back … I got a call, because … This is crazy; I don't think I've told anybody this story.
"I had just interviewed for a job down in Fort Lauderdale, as an academic advisor, and I still had on my suit and everything. [Executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] called me; literally, just [as] I walked in the door, [he] called me. I was like, 'Hello?' He was like, 'It's Ozzie, with the Ravens.' I was like, 'Oh, OK.' He was like, 'Do you want to come back to be with the Ravens?' I was like … I think I said, 'You sure? I think I said [that] first. And [he] was like, 'Yeah!' He was like, 'Yes.' I was like, 'Uh, I just got done with a job interview.' He was like, 'You [don't] have to do the workout [or] anything; just come on. We're on going to bring you back.' And I kid you not, I started crying, because … And then … [At] the time, I was just 20 – whatever it was – 21, 22, at the time, trying to figure out, 'OK, what's my next phase? Football is over at the time.' And to go from that to, obviously, playing 12 years is insane. And I've got to give [a] thank you [to] Ozzie for that phone call. I appreciate you." (laughter)
On making the final tackle in Super Bowl XLVII, and if he ever envisioned playing another 10 years after that, as someone who was still trying to establish himself:"Yes, I agree with that. So, that year started off … [As] most of you guys know, I broke my back in training camp that year in the second day – I believe – of pads or something like that. [It was a] freak accident in practice. And that year was just … I was uncertain. My wife, I called [her]; she was crying, because I was in [the] hospital [and] didn't know what was going on and everything. I kid you not, I was kind of skeptical; like, 'I don't know if this might be [the end of] my season [or] year. My career might be over with this back issue.' And I [was] young still, trying to establish myself in this league. But I've got to give guys like [former special teams coordinator/associate head coach] Jerry Rosburg and Coach [John] Harbaugh – like I said – [credit] just for giving me [an] opportunity and knowing that, 'OK, he's going to come back and contribute in some form or fashion for this team.' And obviously, I ended up coming back and playing games, and [I] ended up starting games – we had a lot of guys hurt – and [getting] opportunities. And I think, just, about those opportunities I've had; I've always made success of them. It never mattered … Whenever they came … I didn't know when they were going to come, but when those opportunities did come, I was like, 'I'm going to be ready.' And when my name was called, I was always ready to go, knowing that I was able to handle it. And obviously, that year, what better way to seal [it]? [I went] from that start of the year to uncertainty, to winning the Super Bowl and making the last tackle [in that game]. So, I think it's crazy."
On what was said in the huddle and what his thoughts were before making the final tackle in Super Bowl XLVII:"We all were just like, 'Look, we're going to make sure we keep this ball all [the way] in front of us.' I think we all … I don't even know if we were all like sprinting on that, because we just wanted to make sure we [were] going to get him down no matter what. And I think – if I'm not mistaken – I remember, I went inside a little bit, then I came back outside, and he was just right there. I forget who missed the tackle. Was it Jimmy [Smith]? It was somebody. It was Jimmy." (laughter)"My guy! How ironic? How ironic?"(laughter) "My guy Jimmy Smith missed the tackle, right? I appreciate you, Jimmy, for missing the tackle." (laughter)"And then I ended up being right there to [be able to] make that tackle. So, it's just … It [was a] surreal, crazy moment. And we need another [Super Bowl win]. That's for sure."