Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh may live on the east coast now, but he has a special attachment to the goings on in the midwest, and specifically, the Big Ten Conference.
Harbaugh’s brother Jim Harbaugh coaches Michigan, and the family grew up with Big Ten football in their blood. As a result, Harbaugh couldn’t resist sending a message to the conference when he was doing his media availability on Wednesday.
In Harbaugh’s opinion, the league needs to step up and play, and as he said, it’s time to “free the Big Ten” thanks to the fact that testing is showing fewer positive results and players can opt out if they feel unsafe.
Late in his Zoom call, John Harbaugh uses the opportunity to say, "Free the Big 10. Let's go. Let's go play some football. Michigan had 0 positive tests in August. Those guys want to play and for anybody who wants to opt out, they can."
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) September 2, 2020
Right now, the league is in a holding pattern, but recent rumors have a potential October 10 start date planned. Donald Trump has apparently recently spoken with commissioner Kevin Warren, but where things go from here are still anybody’s guess.
Obviously, Harbaugh would prefer to see the league playing as usual this fall.
John Harbaugh Applauds Ravens Activism
As Harbaugh explained, he was only a small part of the whole decision that was made for the Ravens to draft their statement. When he heard the players wanted to get involved, he let them facilitate their voice and hash out the plan moving forward. As a result, Harbaugh says he is very proud of what the team put together.
Speaking with the media, Harbaugh was asked about what Thursday was like and he said the trust he put in his players was rewarded in the end with the positive statement they delivered.
"The players felt strongly that they wanted to do this together. When you empower someone, it's because you trust them."
Coach Harbaugh on empowering his players' voices: pic.twitter.com/LxRNHrctFq
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 28, 2020
“The players felt strongly that they wanted to do things together. We had very knowledgable assistant coaches that were involved in it. I stepped away from the meeting and I trusted them. When you empower somebody, it’s because you trust them and you believe in them. Not everybody is going to agree with every point in that statement. Not everybody on our team probably is going to agree with every aspect of it. But the ability to respect everybody’s opinion and come up with something that’s workable that we can go forward with, I think it’s kind of a good example of how you work every problem. I’m proud of them for doing that. I thought it took a lot of courage and intelligence and thought. Experience was brought to the table and I’m proud of them for doing that.”
The statement has been lauded by one of the best by a professional sports team, and the attention to detail that was put into it on the Baltimore end is obvious. It’s neat to see a staff in tune with their players in such a way as Harbaugh is.
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 others in the game who have made him better in the business.
Obviously, Harbaugh wants to see the league he feels closest to get back on the field and start playing this year.