Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"OK, appreciate you guys being here. As you can see, my hat got stolen already. Not stolen, we gave it away. [We] had some great groups out here today – some really special groups. We had TAPS [Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors] out here for families of fallen soldiers. We had a couple kids who are going through some health battles who are doing actually great with the health battles. We had a charity out here called 'Team for One' that pairs teams with kids who are developmentally disabled, so that's all great. The enthusiasm – the kids have been great – so it was another great day. [We] appreciated the weather today. We had it scheduled just like this – wanted to cool it off a little bit today. You can see that's all part of the plan, but the guys appreciated it. It was a very physical day. We had a lot of situations – a lot of third-down situations, first-down situations – trying to move ourselves into Thursday night. This will be the last really aggressive practice that we'll have before Thursday. We're really excited about Thursday night. Anything else?" (Senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne: "Steve Smith. Steve talked.") "I thought I was going to get a question about that. Am I making a statement about Steve? What do you say about Steve Smith? I don't think you really have to say too much. It has just been a pleasure. He's probably the most fun … One of the most fun players I've ever had the opportunity to be around and coach, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season with him. We'll cherish every day. I think this is something that he had been thinking about for quite a while. He and I had talked about this weeks ago – maybe even months ago, I'm not exactly sure – but he wanted to wait until he was sure that this is what he wanted to do. He's sure, and he's going to try to make the most of it."
**Coach, WR Steve Smith Sr. said he made the decision back in April. Did you ever – between then and now – try to talk [Steve Smith Sr.] out of it at all? *(Jerry Coleman) *"No. No. You could never … No, I never tried to talk him out of it. No, this is his decision all the way. He certainly earned the right to go out on his own terms. Here's a guy – if you look at what he's doing – he's going out at the top of his game. There's no question about that. He has made the decision to go out at his very best. Now, he's different than most guys, because how many years has he had in the league? He's not going out at his very best at a young age – he has had quite a few years. He's just, to me, an amazing athlete. It's amazing how productive he has been at the high level he's still playing at, at this stage of his career, and to be able to go out on the top of your game like that is just an amazing, wonderful thing."
Did you remind WR Steve Smith of the way that Ray Lewis went out, and would you like to see a repeat of that? (Jerry Coleman) "No, I didn't think of that, but thank you for reminding me of that. I think you should maybe mention that to him when you talk to him next."
You said WR Steve Smith Sr. is one of the most fun players – we see what he does on the field – but what makes him one of the most fun players to coach? (Garrett Downing) "I just love being around his competitiveness, being around him every day. He's – as you know – one of the wittiest guys you're ever going to be around. He's very observant. He always has some observation for me. He usually has something he wants to share. He doesn't miss a thing. He's just fun, funny, competitive and tough as nails. I just really respect him."
Can you talk about what it means to have a guy like WR Steve Smith Sr. in your locker room and on the field setting the tone the way he does? (Turron Davenport) "He is definitely a tone-setter. It means a lot to have those kinds of guys. You have to have those kinds of personalities. You have to have every kind of personality on your team, and that's the beauty. Teams usually do have every kind of personality. But I don't think you can get by in this league without a guy with that personality. [He is] just a guy who is a pit bull, to use a term I've used a few times already. He's like daddy pit bull, and he has all these little young pit bulls he's trying to raise up the right way, and I mean that in the most positive way. He's just a really fiery competitor."
How much better does that make the guys who play against him in practice every day going up versus a guy like that? (Scott Wykoff)"It's going to force you to practice every single day, or he is going to humiliate you. It's as simple as that. He's going to force you to bring your 'A' game, or you're going to look really bad, and he doesn't apologize for that."
*In this day and age, does that really rub off on young guys? You see a lot of young guys that are talked to by a lot of veterans. What do they take away from those guys? What have you seen those guys take away from WR Steve Smith Sr.? *(Keith Mills) *"It definitely rubs off on the *right young guys. There are probably some guys out there that nothing rubs off on them. But the guys who are looking for mentorship and looking how to do it the right way – if they're paying attention – it has to rub off, right? I'd like to think, and I know this is true, our guys – especially in that receiver room, but really on our whole team – watch Steve really closely, and they watch his competitiveness. Hey, the guy has been in this league for so many years at such a high level; he's doing a lot of things right. How can you not try to learn from him?"
Coach, any injury updates heading into Thursday? (Todd Karpovich) "Help me out with some names." (Reporter: "[Timmy] Jernigan.") "Jernigan had a foot issue. [Breshad] Perriman is still working through … I'll tell you what, I think I've come to the … I really tried this year – I think [the media] can all vouch – to give you guys a bunch of injury information early in training camp, because there's really no competitive advantage. And I've found that it's impossible to give you any idea when guys are going to be back, OK? I've been wrong on every single guy so far, and I just want you to know – for the fans out there – I repeat what I'm told by the medical people. I'm not doing any diagnoses here. I'm not doing any examinations. I don't decide or determine how long we think they're going to come back, OK? I tell you what they tell me. I'm passing the buck. That buck does not stop here, OK? They decide."
*So, you're getting set up, basically? *(Jamison Hensley) *"I feel like I'm getting set up! I do. So, I'm out of that business from now on. *(laughter) But 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] had a little grab on his hamstring, so we pulled him out. [Chris] Canty got a little fatigued, so we pulled him out. Those are things that happened during practice. I think, especially when you have this kind of a practice, you try to take precautions. We'll see how all those guys are tomorrow. We'll see them right up until Thursday and see how they go. I don't think we're going to be pushing anybody out there on Thursday night. But if they can go and they want to go, then we'll put them out there."
It goes without saying, John, a guy who hasn't been out here for a while is WR Breshad Perriman. Will we see him on Thursday? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Like I said, nothing goes without saying, obviously, to use your term. Like I said, I'm going to get out of that business. I'm better off getting out of that business. I'll say something, and then the opposite thing will happen, and [the media] will all think I'm being less than truthful. Anything else?"
*You said you really noticed a difference with the guys today knowing it's the last time they're going to go at it before the game on Thursday. *(Scott Wykoff) "A difference? They're excited, if that's what you mean. I think they're really excited to play in the game. There's no doubt." *(Reporter: "Fly through the tunnel?) *"They do. They get a little edgy. They were a little edgy out there early with hitting one another, and that's classic training camp. The timing is about right. It's time to go play against somebody else. Alright, thank you very much."
CB Kyle Arrington
On how he is adjusting to the defense: "It's going well. The guys are going out there [and] giving 100 percent. [I am] just trying to go out there and earn the respect of my teammates right now. Like I said, guys are giving it their all. We're just having fun with it. Obviously, [we are placing] one foot in front of the other at this time of year and trying to get better each and every day."
On whether he has made strides from OTAs to training camp: "It's a process, definitely, and that's always the goal: try to come out and do a little bit better than you were before. Guys are getting on [the same] page right now on the field and off the field. We're very close – a very close group, especially [the] defense – and it's all about building communication."
On who has been the toughest wide receiver to cover so far: "Toughest guy? They don't make them easy, I'll tell you, man. Steve [Smith Sr.] is looking good. Kamar [Aiken]. Jeremy [Butler] is out there making spectacular catches. We have a good group of wideouts out there."
On the personality of the team: "Tremendous work ethic, and it starts from the top down. Coach [John] Harbaugh puts us in great practices. [He] makes them very competitive, so guys have no choice but to get after each other."
On what he thinks about the secondary group: "Tremendous leadership – it came in from Day 1. And not only the players, but we have first-year coaches with [defensive backs coach] Chris [Hewitt] and [cornerbacks coach] Matt [Weiss], and you would have never thought it. From the moment I first came in, they were very assertive. [They] take command of a room. Like I said, it's just great leadership all around."
WR Steve Smith Sr.
Opening statement:"Well, [it's] been a long career, a long time, and man … Many nights you just kind of … And I always try to sleep on things before I make a decision, so a lot of sleep, waking up and kind of feeling the same thing. And so, me and my family decided, basically, after this season, this is my last season. I'm retiring after this [to] go home and be dad, look back and enjoy things. I just feel like it's time. My body feels great, but not everybody gets the opportunity to kind of have this opportunity. I feel like God has given it to me, so I'm going to take it."
On why he wants to announce his retirement before the start of his last season:"I've just been thinking about it and talking about it. And you train, and you're doing that – and I enjoy doing all that stuff – but to just kind of get it off my chest, to just kind of ease into it, because every time you do an interview at my age, people always ask you, 'How much longer you want to play?' I don't know; it's just something about here. I feel like this is the best place. If it's going to be the end, this would be the best place to end. I think it's always easier when you know you have a finish line. You get to let things loose. You just do things [and] you're like, 'Man, whatever.' Whatever happens, you just kind of let the chips fall where they may. It's kind of like being married or something, having children. You know how to do it, you enjoy doing it, but you're not sure how it's going to turn out. And you just trust to have faith that it's going to work out the way it's supposed to work out. That's what I'm going on – just trust and faith that it's going to work out. And I think it will, and we have a great team."
On if it was difficult being away from his family last season:"Yes, it is. It's very difficult. It's not something that … I guess some people enjoy being married, some people don't enjoy being married, and I enjoy my family. It's kind of tough to see them in spurts."
On how difficult it was to reach his decision to retire:"I probably knew about April that I was kind of set on it. And I'm a guy that kind of … I'm either off or I'm on, and so, I kind of knew after that I was like, 'You know what? I'm good with that.'"
On if there was a day in which he knew, or if he made the decision over time:"No, it was just kind of ... It was tough last year sitting in New England's visiting locker room – and it was like, 'Man!' – seeing some of the coaches, seeing some of the players [and] some of the things they said to me personally. And Ozzie [Newsome] asked me to think about it, because he's – obviously – he's great at what he does, and he can look at guys' eyes and kind of see things. So for me, he said take my time, but I knew that I wanted to give it one more try. But also, I worked out, and it was like, 'You know what? This is it.' I'm not really a big gambler or whatever, but now, just all my chips are on the table. So, we're going to see what the dealer gives me."
On why he was not at practice on Saturday:"Actually, my daughter had surgery." *(Reporter: "I don't want to go there. It's none of our business.") *"Yes." *(Reporter: "But that's what you were doing, is talking about retiring?") *"No, my daughter had surgery on Friday, so I left to be dad. Saturday I was doing that same thing; I was just being dad. She needed me to be home; I needed to be home. That's where I was at." *(Reporter: "Was there more conversation about this decision back then? Or this was already a foregone conclusion, and everybody knew it was coming expect except us?") *"Yes. No disrespect, but you're the only idiots in the room. *(laughter) *Everybody else, even Chad [Steele, VP of public relations] knew. *(laughter) *It had nothing to do with why I wasn't here. It was a personal … I had a family emergency. My daughter was getting surgery, and so she needed her dad. Her dad needed to be next to his daughter."
On if being with his family made him think about his decision to retire:"Next year, I'm going to be in Costa Rica for training camp. *(laughter) *My summer is already planned. Honestly, my son is having decisions to make about going to college. For a very long time – since he was probably a 1-year-old when I was in college – he's gotten up on Saturdays and went to my games. [He does that] on Sundays now. That's an opportunity where it's shifted. I just feel like it's time. I get to … I don't want to hold on. I said it this summer: Jerry Rice is the best wide receiver to ever play, but I don't believe that chasing whatever it is to chase for four more years would be conducive to my family or be conducive to me. I would be having to give up something. I would be jeopardizing something. And I don't know what that is, and I don't have any intensions of finding out."
On if he is chasing anything:"Am I chasing anything? No, I'm good. Bank account is steady-Eddie, so I'm good. I'm just having fun. I'm enjoying the journey. I have this t-shirt; I look at it every day. It's green. It says, 'Enjoy the journey.' And that's what I'm doing."
On if there is a sense of urgency to pass knowledge and tips on to the younger players knowing this is his last season:"No. No sense of urgency. Anything I do, it's not anything underlining. I still teach those guys, still talk to them, [and] we still have fun. Relationships in football are built for a very long time, if they're authentic relationships. If they're not authentic relationships, they go; they fizzle out very quickly."
On how much he would like to end his career with a ring having said a Super Bowl title will not define his career:"We'll see when that comes. I'm not really concerned about that. I'm trying to get through the day. You see these three-hour practices."
On the reaction of his teammates when he told them of his plans to retire:"A few guys panicked [thinking] that I was shutting it down today. But they were good, supportive."
On if it will be difficult to be away from the game after this season:"Of course. Anytime you do something [for] 15 years plus four years of college – that's 19-20 years of football. Football – no matter what percentage of it – if it's part of your life, there will be a mourning process, because it's something you've done. You've been, kind of, built around it. So yes, there will be some parts of it where it's going to be tough. But the interesting part about it for me isn't … I'm not really nervous about retiring. [I'm] more nervous about what it looks like on the other side. That's a steady thing that I think about and understand and am very much aware of, and I have some things built in that I'm going to take advantage of that the league provides and also that I can provide for myself that would help me through that process, because it really, truly, is a grieving process. It's something that's a part of you that you no longer have and can do, and so, I'm getting prepared mentally. And also, [I'm] going to do some things to kind of help facilitate that transition."
On why he said Baltimore is a good place for him to end his career:"Because I'm playing. [I] get the opportunity to play. I think sometimes older guys get there, and they don't have that opportunity to play. They kind of sit around and hope somebody calls, and they don't. They kind of get to that result. I have that opportunity not to be there, and it's unique; not everybody has that opportunity."
On how long he could play from a physical standpoint:"I probably could play two or three more years. Obviously, I would probably have to – at 37 [or] 38 – reduce [my] role a little bit, but I could play. But then I think you're kind of just chasing; you're just kind of just doing it to do it. You're doing it because you don't have anything else to do. It's kind of like when these coaches are 90 [or] 80 years old and are still coaching. Now you're just doing it out of fear because you don't want to go to the end result."
OLB Courtney Upshaw
On his reaction to WR Steve Smith Sr. retiring after this season: "For a guy like Steve [Smith Sr.] – as a team – we want to go out and let him go out the right way. He has – since he has been here, Day 1 – he has been one of those guys that … You see us play on the field. The way he's so hyped, why wouldn't you want to play hard for that guy? We want to come together. You know what I'm saying? Let him go out the right way."
On how training camp has been for him so far: "Honestly, I came into this year wanting to do more – not really trying to focus on just that pass rush thing that I know I need to try to contribute more of that phase of my game. But I drop in coverage a lot, so I have to stay focused to that as well. I'm just trying to better myself as a whole."
On how big he thinks this year is for him individually: "It's a big year for the Ravens as a whole, not just for myself. I've never been a selfish player – a lot of people know that. I think it's just a big year for us all. We all want to get back to that Super Bowl and win it. So, right now – like I said – I came into this year just wanting to do more."
On S Kendrick Lewis: "[Kendrick Lewis] communicates a lot. He's a really fast guy. You see him – especially in the run game – defend the hole as a safety. [He has] that communication, that leader aspect in the back end, just being able to communicate to the front – to myself and the whole defense."
On how settled he feels in his role on the defense: "I feel good. Honestly, I love it – being able to go in and battle tight ends and do stuff like that. I was never a cover guy in college, but being here and being able to drop in coverage – I haven't gotten an interception or anything like that – but I love it, honestly. It's fun for me."
On his thoughts entering into a contract year: "Just go out and produce and do more. I can sit here and say, 'Oh, I set this goal for myself.' Honestly, I just want to get that first sack, and then I'll get to clicking from there. But right now, it's all about just doing more – doing more Year 1, Year 2 to [Year] 3. I just want to do more."
On whether he has exceeded expectations since entering the league: "When I got here, 'Sizz' [Terrell Suggs] was down [injured], so I started out as more of a straight-line guy, not really dropping the coverage. And then when 'Sizz' came back, and I became what I am now – more of a setting-the-edge cover guy – that's fun for me, honestly. Coming into the league, of course I wanted to get sacks. Everybody knows my stats from Year 1 to 3, and like I said, I just want to do more. The time is right now." On whether former Ravens OLB Jarret Johnson has helped him at all: "We talk. [Jarret Johnson] doesn't really try to get involved in trying to change the way I play my game. He always tells me … Even when he was in San Diego, and we played him last year, we met in the middle of the field, and he was just like, 'I like the way you play.' Being here – especially on the defensive side – they talk about that Raven Way, and he's always one of the guys