John Harbaugh was chosen Friday as the new head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, who hope their second choice pays dividends, counting on Harbaugh to help guide them back to AFC contender status. This choice looks to be risky because he doesn’t have the experience nor the leadership qualities most teams look for. I wonder how the veterans on the team will respond and if this is just a minor step towards a new era and starting point for the Baltimore Ravens organization. Will they rebuild the team and why did they give Harbaugh control to lead a revival in Baltimore?
Harbaugh spent this season as Philadelphia’s secondary coach after making a name for himself working with special teams. He has never been a head coach, but has coaching in his genes — his brother, Jim, a former NFL quarterback with the Bears and Colts and three other teams, including the Ravens, is the head coach of Stanford. Their father, Jack, is former head coach at Western Kentucky.
The 45-year-old Harbaugh will be introduced as the third coach in Ravens history at a news conference on Saturday. Harbaugh interviewed a second time at the Ravens’ training complex Friday with owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome. Harbaugh arrived around 9:30 a.m. and finally reached an agreement around 5:30 p.m. He then left in a limousine for his home in Philadelphia without talking to the media.
Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said Harbaugh wanted to first share the news with his wife and parents before sharing his feelings in front of cameras and reporters. Harbaugh replaces Brian Billick, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a nine-year run. The Ravens earlier this week offered the job to Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who rejected Baltimore in favor of staying in Dallas for the green. Garrett turned down the Ravens’ job offer after receiving a raise from owner Jerry Jones and a promotion to assistant head coach.
Harbaugh was selected the NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year by his peers in 2001. He got promoted to running the secondary last season, working under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.