Upon learning the NFL had fined the Ravens $20,000 for failing to report safety Ed Reed’s shoulder injury on injury reports prior to their game against the Houston Texans, John Harbaugh admitted to being taken aback.
The fifth-year coach expressed confidence prior to the bye week that his team would not face a fine despite Reed admitting on Oct. 17 that he was dealing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Harbaugh said Reed had not missed any practice reps, but the league ruled he still needed to be included on the team’s injury reports.
“I was surprised by it,” Harbaugh said during a Monday conference call. “It’s something we felt like we were doing the right way. Obviously, they disagreed and we’ll adjust. There’s not going to be anybody that’s not going to be on there.”
As anticipated when the fine was announced, Harbaugh’s proclamation means the Ravens’ injury reports will likely become much more extensive and more difficult from which to draw conclusions. When initially asked to respond to Reed’s revelation that he had a torn labrum, Harbaugh estimated there were “25 or 30 players” on the team dealing with various ailments of a similar degree.
Long known as manipulators of the league’s injury reports, the New England Patriots listed 19 players on their final injury report this past week for their game in London against the St. Louis Rams. They did rule out seven players for Sunday but also designated 11 players as questionable, with many not believed to be dealing with serious ailments.
The Ravens will likely take a similar approach from this point forward.
“We thought we were in compliance and we tried to follow the rules,” Harbaugh said. “I’ll list pretty much everybody now. Obviously, they corrected it and we’ll do what they want us to do.”
The NFL’s policy on injury reports says “significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice.” In this case, the league ruled that Reed should have been listed as a full participant to reveal the veteran safety was dealing with the shoulder ailment.
The league recently fined the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills $20,000 each for similar violations.
Harbaugh previously expressed confidence that the league would not find any wrongdoings with the Ravens’ injury report, citing the involvement of general manager Ozzie Newsome, senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne, and former head trainer Bill Tessendorf in constructing the rules for the procedures.
“They’ll look through that, and what they’ll find with Ed is that he’s practiced 100 percent all the time,” Harbaugh said at the start of the bye week. “He’s played in all the games, he hasn’t missed any game time because of the injury. Our understanding of the rule has been that if they don’t miss any time at all according to the injury, then they don’t have to be on the injury report.”
NOTES: The Ravens returned to their Owings Mills facility for practice on Monday amid the distractions of Hurricane Sandy. Harbaugh said all but three players made it back to the facility for practice despite travel cancellations hindering their ability to return to the area following the bye week. Those individuals are expected back by Wednesday after the players receive their regular day off on Tuesday. … Baltimore is 4-0 in games directly following the bye week in the Harbaugh era. … The NFL has pushed back Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline to Thursday due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy.