OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh finally got his full team together on the football field, and still he wasn’t happy.
That’s because the Ravens were slow to arrive on the field Thursday after practice was pushed back 3 1/2 hours to allow NFL players to sign off on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement.
“There were a couple guys that took a little longer to get dressed than I would have expected,” Harbaugh said after the
three-hour session ended in the twilight. “But they know me, I know them. We get each other.”
Minutes after players ratified the new CBA, the Ravens filed out of the team complex onto the practice field. Harbaugh stood with his arms crossed as the players trickled out of the building.
Rookie linebacker Josh Bynes walked slowly toward the field, adjusting his pads, until Harbaugh yelled, “”A little sense of
Offensive tackle Marshal Yanda signed a five-year contract last week but was restricted from practicing before the CBA was approved. He hit the field before 5 o’clock.
But linebacker Prescott Burgess, who signed last week, was one of the last to arrive. At least he sprinted onto the field.
Finally, after newcomer Bernard Pollard shuffled out of the building, the horn blew at 5:06. The deal added more than a dozen players to a roster that was previously too thin to mount three units on each side of the ball.
“It was good to have everybody back,” Harbaugh said. “We were able to bring a line in for every period, and we appreciated that.”
Pollard, a standout safety with Houston who signed a two-year deal, made an immediate impression. So did fullback Vonta Leach, who signed as a free agent earlier in the week.
“I’d like to welcome Bernard here,” Harbaugh said. “Wow, this guy comes out and has two huge hits in the backfield on pass rushes and kind of established himself. And Vonta got after it and had some big collisions out there. It was good to see the new guys in the mix, plus all the guys who hadn’t been able to practice for the last week or so.”
Linebacker Tavares Gooden, who signed last week but was forced to watch, was delighted to be back in pads.
“It felt good, I was able to release some frustration,” he said. “It was fun being out there. I hated to see my teammates out there working hard and I couldn’t be out there.”
It was, however, worth the wait.
“Yeah, they had to make sure both sides were equally favored. That’s what we were waiting on,” Gooden said. “We’re all happy they were able to get that deal done today.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)