Harbaugh press conference play by play & notes

January 19, 2008 | Nestor Aparicio

This will be a running blog from inside the press conference…

The podium is Steve Bisciotti, Dick Cass, John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome.

Steve Bisciotti looks a little more well-rested. Art Modell is sitting in the front row of the auditorium.

How Bisciotti got to John Harbaugh:

Getting this to a manageable number was all on the “football people.” Coaches and reputations came from the football people: Eric Decosta, the Newsomes, Kevin Byrne, george Kokinis and Pat Moriarty.

Bisciotti says it was very easy for him, because he’s hired many people. He also alluded to the blueprint from Art Modell’s search from 1998 that unearthed Brian Billick.

There were six candidates. Bisciotti said he spoke to Art Blank in Atlanta. And he liked the process of his interior football management team.

Bisciotti lauded Harbaugh’s family background. He then praised Art Modell’s legacy and support.

Harbaugh spoke next. Art Modell gave Harbaugh advice, although harbaugh didn’t say what the “advice” was.

Harbaugh said the committee asked very tough questions and that it was a very thorough effort and he enjoyed his two days of interviewing.

Harbaugh said he can’t wait to get going. Harbaugh praised his family and wife, and spent a lot of time praising Andy Reid and the Eagles’ organization. He singled out Jim Johnson as well. He even thanked the Philadelphia newspaper beat writers.

Harbaugh said he has no problem with being the No. 2 candidate.

He said the three most important things in his coaching philosophy are:

1.    Team
2.    Team
3.    Team

“We’ll stick with that,” he said.

He said his “special teams” background was because that’s where the team he’s worked for had needed. He talked about hard work and effort, and said he’ll get guys into the gym and put the process of “relationship building” with the current players into motion, even if he has to visit with them.

He said the interviews of 5 and 7 ½ hours went by in a snap. He enjoyed talking football with the Ravens’ committee.

The Rex Ryan questions: He said there are a lot of good football coaches already in the building. He said they’ll take their time and make good decisions about the staff. Harbaugh has known Rex Ryan since 1987. They worked together in Cincinnati in 1996 and he praised Rex Ryan and their friendship.

On nervousness about the first time he’s a head coach: he talked about being on the sidelines at the Super Bowl with the Eagles in Jacksonville and the excitement of the kickoff with his special teams on sidelines.

Bisciotti on traits of being the head coach: intelligence, character and reputation. He said his football people delivered six people who all were great people. He said there was no “defining moment” in the process. He said they were all highly regarded.

Jim Harbaugh: John said Jim had a great experience in Baltimore. Jim was on a recruiting mission in Michigan. He was fired up and screaming and excited for his brother. He also talked about Tom Cream (his brother in law), who is a basketball coach at Marquette. He said the holidays are fun talking sports with coaches over the dinner table.

Harbaugh said it’s all about core beliefs and football. He said the players don’t get to the NFL unless you understand what it takes to be a good football player and a teammate. He talked a lot about togetherness.

One players campaigning for Rex Ryan: Bisciotti said he expected the players to campaign for him. “It didn’t hurt Rex, it was our job to make sure it didn’t help him.” Bisciotti said he thinks very highly of Rex and said he talked to Arthur Blank about Rex this morning.

What phone call to his dad was: Harbaugh said he tried to slow play him. There was a lot screaming going on. His family is quite happy for him.

Special teams: Harbaugh said special teams coaches handle all parts of the team every day. The offensive and defensive players and you get to work with the young guys. He said it’s thrilling to work with young people.

On offensive struggles: Harbaugh said he has time. The process begins today. He wants to hire a great staff. He said he’s going to get a great offensive coordinator. Tough, disciplined and play hard were the attributes of a Harbaugh offense.
Ozzie Newsome said being a head coach is “one of the toughest jobs in America, because you get judged every Sunday by everyone. It’s not easy.” Newsome said he talks every day about who are the good coaches in the business. Many people told Newsome that Harbaugh is a good who should be interviewed. Lots of people recommended that Harbaugh get a chance.

Bisciotti had a light moment, telling Harbaugh, “Did you know I said I was looking for a Hall of Fame coach?” A giant laugh from everyone.

Bisciotti talked about Marty Schottenheimer. He said his staff had a lot of experience with Marty. Bisciotti talked about his hiring strategy. He said he has no bad feelings about Schottenheimer. He said you have to take chances to be successful. “the time we spent with Harbaugh gave me a comfort level that we hired the right guy. I feel good about our choice.”

Brian vs. Marty Schottenheimer: Ozzie Newsome said that Marty told him that as long as Brian was under consideration, he wanted Brian to be considered first.

Art Modell told Harbaugh to bring good people in. You put good people around you and that will pay off.

Harbaugh said smart football coaches put players in a position to do well by allowing and accentuating what they do well.

Ozzie Newsome said the hiring committee and scouts will now work to help Harbaugh put a staff together. The new staff will be allowed to evaluate the current football team. It’ll be a great exchange of information with old and new guys. Newsome will leave for the Senior Bowl today. He talked about the Hula Bowl and East-West game. He said the evaluation process has begun, and he’s excited that there will be a “new set of eyes” to look at the situation. Ozzie said “we don’t have to play until September, so we’ve got time.”

Harbaugh said he has not talked to any of the current players, but will soon.

Harbaugh said you’re always thinking about a potential coaching staff, but not too much.

Harbaugh said his career could be summed up as: “I played in the twilight of a mediocre career.”

Bisciotti said he didn’t get the overall sense that the team lacked discipline. He said he interacts with players and said that he didn’t think it was that big of an issue. He said he thinks the players are ready for a change and will be enthusiastic and will take to John Harbaugh.

Paraphrasing: “Everybody knows that Ray Lewis is the player and the leader that he is. Everything you know about Ray is true: he’s truly one of the greatest leaders that I’ve ever been around in my life. It’s constant, deep rooted and Ray can’t possibly be anything but a great leader. We’ve been giving Ray his due as a leader. Harbaugh will thank his lucky stars that he has Ray. I don’t know where Ray is – he might be in Jamaica – when he finds out, he’ll say ‘How can I help this guy be a great coach and help us win.’ ”

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