Pollard’s locker room antics draw the ultimate penalty flag

March 14, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Pollard’s locker room antics draw the ultimate penalty flag

The house cleaning continued in Owings Mills on Wednesday, as Bernard Pollard was handed his walking papers after two seasons in purple.

This departure, unlike that of Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, was clearly and comfortably the choice of John Harbaugh and the Ravens organization.  In simple terms, Pollard’s constant complaining and locker room blow-ups finally caught up to him.

That Pollard leaves a champion is a testament to his intensity and competitive fire.  He was an important part of the team that captured the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3.  Few players in the league hit with more tenacity.  The term “play like a Raven” was seemingly created with players like Bernard Pollard in mind.

With the good, though, came a lot of bad.  Pollard was a troublesome figure in the clubhouse, which is why he won’t be around in Baltimore next season.

“This wasn’t all about quality of play,” a source said on Wednesday after the news about Pollard’s termination went public.  ”It was about locker room tranquility and chemistry.”

While there wasn’t one single incident that doomed Pollard, a series of friction-filled events contributed to the club finally saying “enough is enough”.  The most notable of those was a post-game blow-up in Washington where the hard-hitting safety openly bashed linebacker Josh Bynes in front of the entire team and within earshot of several media members who were in the vicinity of the locker room setting up for post-game interviews.

“It was completely uncalled for,” said a 2012 teammate.  ”From a team standpoint, the last thing we needed that day was to have one guy pitting himself against someone else.  And to pick on Josh like that?  It was wrong.”

Pollard’s role in the bye-week practice fiasco is well known by now.  When Harbaugh suggested the team practice in pads on Wednesday before letting the team have off for the rest of the week, Pollard reacted angrily and rallied several teammates to demand a lighter, easier practice session.  To his credit, Harbaugh took the high road and gave in, deciding, apparently, that the battle wasn’t worth winning when the season was still very much in the balance.

“He was always complaining about something,” the teammate remembered.  ”Nothing was ever right in Bernard’s eyes.  After a while it got kind of old.  And a lot of guys in the locker are John Harbaugh fans.  Bernard was very anti-John and open about it. He didn’t really hide it.”

It’s one thing for a player to butt heads with the coach.  That happens all the time.  But, in this case, players – lots of them – were worn out by Pollard’s locker room antics and in-game reckless play that appeared to be more about the safety just doing things “his way” and not fitting in with the rest of the team.

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13 Comments For This Post

  1. pgavin Says:

    I have only one issue w/ this piece. If we only see 5% of what goes on w/ a team and “the media” see a bit more. How come we don’t hear about these “stories”? They are always written after the fact. Pollard is a clubhouse lawyer/whiner/ complainer. Why was this never reported on? Sure sounds like the Ravens control the message(at least during the season). If the media is the eyes, ears and conduit to the fans do we only get “Pollard is a
    Cancer” after he is let go.

  2. Nick Says:

    wow this is news. I as a big fan of Pollard. This was the one move that disapointed me the most. I can even understand trading Anquan. But this one made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE

  3. Nick Says:

    this one made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE to me. This guy is a border line Pro-Bowl player. But now that I know this all I can say is happy trails Benard. I don’t need anyone giving coach a hard time. See Ya.

  4. unitastoberry Says:

    I work with alot of people like this and I wish I could fire some of them.

  5. matt Says:

    100% agreement with pgavin

  6. Will Says:

    Pgavin,

    That’s just how it’s always going to be. What good is it for the Ravens if this source says what he says about Pollard in the middle of the season? Obviously the media will report it if they have the leak. Of course the team will try and control the message the best they can during the season. And for that team source, having this story come out during the year is not really beneficial to anyone. When the Ravens win and have extended runs in the postseason, it’s good for everyone in the organization, especially financially. Why would that source want to possibly hinder that run. What’s in it for him. So much easier to leak it after the fact. Just my two cents. Peace

  7. BudIce05 Says:

    Come to Philly Bernard, we need a mean ass presence in the secondary sorely lacking since those two idiots (Banner and Lurie) sent Brian Dawkins packing!

  8. pgavin Says:

    @Will,
    C’mon man… the media is there for the fans, not as a promotional arm of the team. The mantra of Nestor and his station is to report the facts as they happen, not hold stuff for the betterment of the team. They will NEVER pass up the chance to beat on the O’s. They quote unnamed sources ALL the time about what is going on behind the scenes, when it makes them(the O’s) look bad. If they are in the locker room every day then they should know about this stuff. But they are reliant on the Ravens to provide players for promotional opportunities. To claim otherwise is just plain false. I guess AFTER Suggs or Reed(just using them as examples) leaves we will hear all kinds of tales about what horrible guys they are. The media has always been compliant of things that they like(JFK”S daliances were known by the press corp)and NST is no different. especially when their financial stake is directly involved in the team and their access to it.
    (DF: It’s amazing how little you know. It’s also amazing that I leave garbage like this up. But I like having people who don’t know what they’re talking about exposed, so it will remain up for the long haul.)

  9. The Armchair QB Says:

    His aggressive linebacker style of play at the safety position is pretty much passe in today’s NFL. When you combine that fact with the other distractions, he becomes expendible……

  10. pgavin Says:

    Funny that you call it garbage when I only question the information about Pollard being a well known clubhouse lawyer being reported AFTER the fact. That was my only contention until I was told by Will that I shouldn’t question the Ravens controlling the message and drawing the logical conclusion that the media is compliant. That is logical not garbage.

    And when I STATE that unnamed sources are used consistently to show the O’s in a bad light(I listen everyday) I am again called unknowing when those FACTS are used. How many times have I heard “I was told by a person in the know down at the warehouse that they were forced into action after the White Sox Series drew 50,000″ That was unsourced. It may be true(I don’t doubt that) but it doesn’t jibe with the way that the Ravens are covered(As opposed to the O’s). That is an editorial commitment on the part of NST. To refute that is pure folly.

    I may have over stated the NEED for NST needing the club for their bottom line, but one can make the connection.

    What I like to point out is the high ground(editorially) NST takes…. yet criticism of them is ALWAYS taken poorly and lashing back is always the SOP. Crazy to always call your supporters, customers and users of your sponsors idiots. Are you guys in the sales game? It makes me laugh. (DF: You make me laugh. So we have a lot in common there.)

  11. pgavin Says:

    In a classic debating style NOT one of my points is dissected. Just an ad hominem attack on me. And in a classic straw man argument, will probably say that it is not worth your time to get into a debate with someone “who knows so little”. Hilarious. (DF: I didn’t know I was obligated to dissect your comments. You’re welcome to whatever opinion you have. You know how to reach me personally if you really want to discuss any of this stuff. You’re a regular e-mailer as it is.)

  12. Chuck Says:

    Here’s my theory on Pollard. Baltimore on Monday tried to put the best PR spin on a tough situation by not cutting but trading a very valuable contributor to its playoff run, Boldin, who could help them again in 2013. By trading Boldin, the blow would be slightly mitigated by acquiring a 6th round pick from SF as opposed to getting nothing by cutting him. In addition, by trading Boldin as opposed to cutting him the Ravens unload his entire salary with no resulting dead cap. But the Ravens screwed up by not realizing until after the trade was announced that Boldin’s cap would not go off their books until he passed his physical and he was and remains in Africa doing charitable work. And there was no incentive for Boldin to immediately get on a flight and fly half the way around the world to help a team that just traded him without his knowledge and approval. Then Baltimore, like all NFL teams, had to be in compliance with the salary cap this week and their only recourse was to cut Pollard, a player under a one year deal that by cutting would create no expedited cap issues.

    The stink is the team on Wednesday suddenly started leaking and trashing Pollard as a troublemaker and highly flawed player as an excuse for cutting him as opposed to admitting a major miscalculation on the Boldin trade and physical, and 95 percent of the sycophants in the local media went with it. Pollard was a very good player at a great price for someone with his time of service and reputation.

    The Ravens are an outstanding organization, but they’re not perfect. Every team makes mistakes. But people in this town walk around like lemmings saying “In Ozzie We Trust”. And it seems the team’s hubris at least in this case got the best of them. By wanting to always seem like the “smartest guys in the room” they made a dubious trade to get a late draft pick but failed to consider the full consequences. So essentially, the Ravens traded both Boldin and Pollard for a late 6th round pick.

  13. FREDTERP Says:

    Knucklehead making up stories? FREDTERP

    Josh Bynes ‏@bynestime56

    First off, where in the world do media get there information from?@Crushboy31 so called “bashed” me to my face! Really? Check ya resource!

    Josh Bynes ‏@bynestime56

    Smh people in the media world do anything to get a story! Glad to have played with @Crushboy31

    (DF: Well, five people verified the Pollard/Bynes story. Including his teammates and others in the organization. Enough said.)

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