OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In case there were any lingering doubts over John Harbaugh’s feelings toward the NFL’s decision to fine the Ravens $20,000 last week for failing to list Ed Reed on the injury report, the head coach made his position crystal clear on Friday.
After listing 16 players on this week’s injury report, Harbaugh said the Ravens would include everyone “that has a hangnail” and admitted he lends no stock toward the opposing team’s injury report each week. Browns coach Pat Shurmur included 19 players on his injury report ahead of Sunday’s meeting in Cleveland.
“There’s no credence on the injury report now,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It has no value. The injury report is without value.”
You can hear Harbaugh’s full press conference HERE (starting around the 4:00 mark) as most of his comments related to the injury report will likely be interpreted around the league as sour grapes after being fined. However, the fifth-year head coach brought up an interesting point in regards to those players listed as full participants on the injury report, meaning they took part in all practice reps for a given day or week.
The contention would be that these players might become targets for the opposition during games after these minor conditions were revealed to the world. For example, a player dealing with sore ribs who has not missed any practice or game time could find himself in a vulnerable position if an opponent would decide to take a cheap shot — such as a knee to the side of the chest in a pileup — during a game.
“Aren’t there HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rights [to privacy] here?” Harbaugh said. “If I’m a player and I’ve been out there playing and I don’t want that on the injury report and I’m told I have to be put on the injury report, we have some players that resent that. I have a problem with that in all honesty.”
According to the team, two players voiced disenchantment over being included on the injury report as full participants. The Ravens listed a total of 12 players with that designation on their injury reports this week.
Harbaugh will almost certainly face a fine from the league, but the point raised about players dealing with injuries that normally wouldn’t put them in any jeopardy of missing practices or games is a valid one the NFL should consider in the future.
“If a guy goes out there and doesn’t miss a practice, doesn’t miss a game, and doesn’t want to be on the injury report, and [they] have to be on the injury report, I want the league’s answer on that,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to hearing that. So, I’ll probably be getting fined for that now.”