As the Ravens wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday, head coach John Harbaugh said all the right things in regards to players keeping out of trouble before they return to training camp in July.
With the players being off until late July, the Ravens organization from top to bottom certainly doesn’t want to find themselves in the news again for anything other than football related topics.
Much ado has already been made by many outside the organization that thought perhaps Harbaugh had lost control of the locker room now that Ray Lewis wasn’t there to play the role of Dad so to speak. Others maintained, including yours truly, that Harbaugh can’t be everywhere and watch after every player every minute of every day.
Throughout this offseason it was evident that Harbaugh was beyond displeased with those who couldn’t stay out of trouble.
Words like “very concerned” and “disappointed” are never words you want to hear from a head coach, yet were often uttered by John when asked about the offseason incidents.
In May after the teams second OTA, Harbaugh spoke at great length on how players need to conduct themselves not just during the offseason but during the season as well.
“Discipline is a way of life,” Harbs said. “Football discipline, life discipline, it’s all the same thing. It’s pretty hard to be successful in any walk of life without great self-discipline. When it starts showing up in other areas of your life, to me, that’s a major red flag for where you’re going as a football player.”
On Thursday, coach Harbaugh was business as usual addressing the media when the topic of off-the-field behaviour surfaced again.
“It’s always the same high standard. We will always have the same high standard for our guys, and it’s the same message,” remarked Harbaugh.
“There is always an emphasis – different types of emphasis – on different things, and we’ve emphasized what we need to with our guys. We have good, really good guys. Football matters to them. The more it matters to you, the less inclined you are to do anything to jeopardize that.”
While Harbaugh’s words were certainly media friendly in front of the cameras, one has to wonder if his words were as kind and gentle in the locker room when addressing the team.
Let us all hope that the message Harbs delivered resonates with the players or they could find themselves on the outside looking in when the team reports to camp.
On a related and more upbeat note the league will run its annual Rookie Symposium which runs from June 25-28 for AFC rookies. Harbaugh confirmed that the Ravens rookies would be attending.
The NFL Rookie Symposium is an orientation for all drafted rookies focusing upon four principles: NFL History, Total Wellness, Professional Experience and Workplace Conduct.
The symposium includes presentations, videos, and workshops on player health and safety, decision making, mental health, substance abuse, workplace respect and maintaining positive relationships.
Rookies are provided with resources and best practices to assist them with their shared responsibility in successfully identifying off-the-field challenges and transitioning from college to the professional level.
With one Raven rookie already having a run in with the law, this symposium is much needed.
NOTE: Harbaugh acknowledged he hasn’t heard of any decision by the league regarding Ray Rice stating, “I’m not aware of any timetable on that at all.”
Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR