chrisbraven Column: Please stop misreading Harbaugh!

Chris L. Brown

How many times do we have to go through this?

Media pundits, I’m talkin’ to YOU.

All of a sudden, the interwebs are a-flitter with the “news” that Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh favors a return of ex-Raven WR Anquan Boldin.

Uh, NO.

For those confused, please read the following assertion aloud:

John Harbaugh is Positive and Principled.

Memorization of this axiom will help the production of more accurate news stories. Or even, real news stories. And let me clarify–because I can, this is my column–Sarah Ellison of reported it right. I think she broke the story. She included all of the conditions.

Other stories have gone off the rails.

Folks, Anquan Boldin is not returning to Baltimore for more than a family BBQ at Ray’s spot. Or for the 1-day signing so that he can retire a Raven.

Anything else is overhype.

Yesterday, John Harbaugh asserted in his NFL Annual Meeting presser that he is in favor of a return of the outspoken leader, but also listed a number of conditions that had to fall in place. He said that Ozzie had to make it work, that Boldin had to actually want it to happen, and that it would need to be the best of all options.

Repeat: John Harbaugh is Positive and Principled. 


Has he ever said that a veteran, released under normal business circumstances and not an overheated controversy (Ray Rice), would be un-welcomed back? No way. He said that Chris McAlister could come back. He said that Jacoby Jones could come back. He said that Ed Reed could come back. He said, in so many words, that Bernard Pollard could come back.

None of them did.

He also said that the Ravens would certainly consider drafting Ezekiel Elliot, in the wake of the young player mouthing off on social media at his brother. I asserted then that he would never draft such a player–principle.

He did not.

“Could come back,” in Harbaugh vernacular, means “I will not destroy him with my words, and I will not stunt his career with innuendo.” Positive, Principled.

Again, it cannot be ignored that none of these players returned. Not a-one.

This sentence sounds like the exact same tenor, to me: “I will say this: I do believe he can still play at the highest level. I think his ability and skills are such that he’s not going to drop off the edge just because of how he plays.” Harbaugh speaking.

That sounds like principled promoting of a player for their future possibilities. On another team.

It bears mentioning that Harbaugh clearly loves Boldin like a younger brother. Also, Harbaugh clearly regrets the way Boldin left the team originally-which was none of his fault–and is sincere about respecting the man’s level of play. Just, on another team.

Don’t get me wrong. Boldin would be a great mentor and leader, and a return would be awesome in a sense.

Yet, Harbaugh and the Ravens have never operated that way, they are forward-thinking and

At the end of his career, there was a small hype about Ed Reed retiring a Raven. Didn’t happen.
At the end of his career, there was a small hype about Ed Reed retiring a Raven. Didn’t happen.

forward-moving, and ia 36-year-old is more of a short-term salve than a long-term cure.


Have you ever used the tactic, with an unruly kid, of giving them hope that they could get a prize, but making the actual steps to the prize, ones that the child would never really want to traverse?


I think that what Ozzie would require in order for Boldin to return would be so much, the offering so miniscule, that it would take a camel/eye-of-needle miracle in order for it to happen.

Possible, but only with divine intervention.

Ravens fans who want this to happen, start prayin’.

Just don’t be misled.


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