Harbaugh’s Joy

I’m sure John Harbaugh will tell you the most joyful events in his life involve the birth of his daughter, the marriage to his wife, things of that nature.  But I can’t imagine anyone feeling more joy than does he as the Ravens head coach.

His mini camp practices are run with military precision, but also with the youthful exuberance of a teenager given the keys to his father’s car for the very first time.  He loves running the show, but for not for the ego of being in charge, simply for the chance to share all that he’s learned about the game. 

Towards the end of practice today, 2nd year returner Yamon Figurs made a rather bone headed play as he fielded a kickoff near the sidelines marker and couldn’t stay inbounds.  Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg was none too thrilled, making it abundantly clear to never, never, never do that again.  He sounded like a football coach.  The play also happened right in front of Harbaugh.  But rather than verbally accost Figurs as I and everyone I spoke that watched the play expected, he walked up the youngster, put his arm around him explaining how to avoid a mistake like that.  He ended the conversation with a pat on the back and the drills continued.

I wasn’t sure if I was watching the NFL or little league. 

He treated Figurs with patience and respect after a mistake that Figurs in no way should have made. 

I asked Coach Harbaugh about that after practice, if that’s how he always coaches.  He explained that he only yells at players for a lack of effort or if they are disrespectful to either teammates or staff.  Then he thanked me for noticing, offering a fist pound. 

Combined with the other early on impressions of Harbaugh, how he always looks you in the eye during a conversation, his childlike excitement to be in Baltimore, I was left thinking how fortunate he is to have found a calling he so thoroughly enjoys.  And how fortunate the Ravens community is to have found him.

I still have no idea if he’ll succeed as a head coach.  They don’t send you to Canton for being a nice guy, otherwise Ted Marchibroda would already be enshrined.  But in looking for signs one way or the other,  nothing negative has come to light. 



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