OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens are in the process of hammering out a contract extension for coach John Harbaugh and are optimistic of striking a deal soon.
"We’re working on an extension for John and expect to have it done soon," team president Dick Cass told Ravens24x7 on Monday at the Ravens’ training complex.
No deal is imminent, though, as top management continues to craft a multi-year proposal to submit to Harbaugh. No snag is expected in negotiations and all signs point toward Harbaugh remaining in Baltimore for a long time.
Harbaugh is heading into the final year of a four-year contract that averaged between $2 million and $2.5 million. His extension could mirror the one signed last year by Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, which is worth over $4 million annually.
The former Philadelphia Eagles assistant is excited about the prospects of coaching the Ravens on a long-term basis.
"I’m excited about being here," Harbaugh said. "I really am grateful and appreciative to be the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and to be associated with Baltimore football. Now three years here, kind of soaking this in and being a part of this fan base is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And I love the Baltimore Ravens fans."
Harbaugh has led the Ravens to a franchise record three consecutive playoff appearances, going 4-3 in the postseason. He’s one of four NFL coaches in the past two decades to make it to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, joining Barry Switzer, Dennis Green and Bill Cowher.
Harbaugh has an overall record of 32-16 in the regular season.
"We’re trying to take control of this whole area, we’ll take over Washington D.C. while we’re at it, and head up into Pennsylvania and grab all those fans, then over to West Virginia and Virginia," Harbaugh said with a smile. "Come on and be a Baltimore Ravens fan, because you know, this is an exciting organization and an exciting football team.
"We stand for class, character, men of integrity, all of those things that you guys want to make fun of me about, it’s kind of real. It really is. And I think people out there see that, and I think they want to be associated with this organization. I can tell you I sure do, and I’m grateful to be here, and hopefully that can continue.”
The Ravens’ season ended in heartbreak with an disastrous loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC divisional playoff game at Heinz Field.
"This was tough, our guys are disappointed, frustrated," Harbaugh said. "It was such a great opportunity, and we feel like we’re good enough. We’re good enough. I was in here this morning before 4 because I couldn’t sleep, just going through the tape and watching it and studying it.
"I think it’s important it is to everybody in this building. We’re really disappointed. We know we had it right in the palm of our hand and all we had to do was just do what we were capable of, but we didn’t and you can’t get that back."
The New York Jets’ stunning upset victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday means that the Ravens squandered a potential opportunity to host the AFC championship.
"We talked about it," Harbaugh said. "The opportunity to host that championship game was something our guys had talked about and we wanted to try to get that done. We weren’t able to hold up our end of it. I feel bad for our players, coaches, fans, especially the fans. That would have been a great, great thing and we need to make that happen."