Before he was leading the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh was cutting his teeth coaching alongside Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles. If you’re looking for a reason Harbaugh has been so successful, it could have plenty to do with the lessons he learned then.
Asked recently to give a great story he had about working with Reid, who recently captured his first Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs, Harbaugh admitted that while he didn’t have a story, he had a great experience which taught him a ton about how to properly lead a football team.
Joshua Brisco of Sports Radio 810 WHB interviewed Harbaugh and asked him what he learned specifically from Reid. As the Ravens coach explained, he gained a keen sense of how to deal with his players and hold them accountable by watching Reid operate.
“We have a saying at our place, you confront everything but not anybody. We seek the best in one another,” Harbaugh said in the interview. “One time, Terrell Owens first came in. He was great to have, he’s a hard working guy. We were having an OTA practice and Andy had determined a certain way we were going to wear our shells for practice. T.O. came out in tights, David Culley the wide receiver coach had to tell him no, we don’t wear tights, we wear the shorts over the tights. He went and put the shorts on. Later, he didn’t have the shells on the right way. Andy didn’t make a big deal. He just told David to tell the other receiver to go in the game, go into practice, take T.O. out. He stepped out 10 straight plays. T.O.’s in the huddle, still the shoulder pads aren’t right. (The receiver) goes back in the huddle again, I’m in. T.O.’s out the next 10 plays. T.O.’s in the huddle a third time with the shoulder pads the right way. Andy didn’t have to say a word. I thought that’s just pure gold right there. I tried to remember that.”
As Harbaugh admitted, Reid’s personality commanded the room and imparted plenty of lessons to coaches like himself.
“I learned a lot about confronting issues but not confronting people. When you saw that mustache start to twitch, you knew there was hell to pay, man. He didn’t have to say too much,” he said with a laugh.
John Harbaugh, Lamar Jackson Ready For 2020
Obviously, Harbaugh has been no slouch leading the Ravens himself since his days as an assistant. Some of his coaching was caught on camera during the 2020 Pro Bowl in which the Ravens made quite a splash. It’s clear both Harbaugh and Jackson are already focusing on what they can do in 2020 to make sure that this coming year is even better than 2019 was on the field.
Here’s a look at a candid moment which tells a lot about the mentality of a pair of great competitors who had their hearts broken earlier this month, yet are refusing to worry about it.
“I’m excited about the next three months,” Harbaugh says. “New beginning,” Jackson interjects. “Exactly, go to work, start from the beginning,” Harbaugh replies. “Can’t dwell on last year no more, it’s over,” Jackson says. “Right. How good can we get before we come back. Draft, scheme, individual players improving, everything,” Harbaugh finishes.
Obviously, it’s all systems go for 2020 as it relates to this duo on the field. Safe to say seeing the Ravens react in this way should fire up plenty of their fans, as there is no talk about what happened in the playoffs or getting better off of that loss.
John Harbaugh’s Ravens Tenure
Harbaugh has been a great coach during his tenure with the Ravens. Even in spite of the playoff trouble this season, Harbaugh is 128-81 in his NFL career, and has one Lombardi Trophy to his credit. He’s also gone 10-7 in the postseason during his career.
The Ravens have been better off for having Harbaugh as their coach through the years, and a large part of his coaching intellect came from getting to work with Reid. This story only serves to prove how assistants can learn the big picture from their original boss.
READ NEXT: Analyst: Ravens Must Sign Pro Bowl Wideout