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Harbaugh parents could become Super Bowl TV stars

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Harbaugh parents could become Super Bowl TV stars

NEW YORK (AP) Jack and Jackie Harbaugh would do well to practice their impassive faces in front of a mirror before the Super Bowl.

The parents of Baltimore Ravens coach John and the San Francisco 49ers' Jim Harbaugh will be watched closely during Sunday's Super Bowl - if anybody finds them - for any visual evidence that mommy and daddy really do love one boy or the other best.

It promises to be a fascinating sidebar to CBS' coverage of the game because, as Lynn and Rick Raisman can attest, parent cams are valuable in sports coverage. NBC's clip of the Raismans watching daughter Aly perform on the uneven bars during last summer's Olympics in London went viral, with stage parents everywhere relating to their murmurs and facial contortions.

``I had no idea it was going to be so great,'' said David Michaels, senior producer at NBC Sports, who often produces and directs coverage of gymnastics and figure skating, events where parental involvement can be particularly intense.

Michaels makes it a point to know where parents are sitting during competitions, tracking them through spotters or sometimes sports governing bodies that know where parent seats have been assigned. Or where they are not sitting: Sometimes a dad who retreats to a concession stand because he can't bear to watch an offspring compete is a good story, too.

Michaels said he tries not to overdo it, sticking with parents who he knows are interesting and very involved in their children's competitive undertakings.

``It has certainly gotten more ubiquitous,'' he said. ``Sometimes it's fantastic and sometimes it's just too gratuitous.''

Jack, a former college and high school football coach, and his wife will be attending the Super Bowl. On a conference call last week, the parents said they did not know where they would be sitting. Even if they did, they'd be unlikely to inform a horde of reporters about their seat locations.

The senior Harbaugh was a college head coach at Western Michigan and Western Kentucky and an assistant at several places, including Michigan, Pittsburgh and Stanford. His son-in-law, Tom Crean, is the Indiana University men's basketball coach. It doesn't seem like a family that would want to watch a game casually while piling their plates with nachos.

The couple had a practice run to see what it would be like to watch their sons coach against each other on Thanksgiving 2011, when older brother John's Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6.

During that game, the couple watched in an office. Jack said his wife's face looked ``nearly comatose'' throughout the contest.

``She just stared at the screen,'' he said. ``Not a word was spoken. And at the end of the game, it was just over.''

They'll experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat - all at once. A 75-yard touchdown pass that would be reason to stand up and cheer for one son is another son's horrible defensive lapse.

``I am going to be neutral in the game,'' Jackie Harbaugh said. ``I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I would really like to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?''

CBS Sports President Sean McManus said there will be a pregame feature about the familial battle. It would be hard to argue otherwise; no matter how much the brothers want to downplay it, it's a unique situation. But McManus said CBS would try not to let it dominate its coverage of the game.

Given the need for the coaches' parents to stay neutral, longtime TV critic David Bianculli said he wondered how much of a story it will be visually for CBS. If they really maintain impassive faces, how much will viewers want to see them on the screen?

``I would advise them to pay attention to the field, more than anything else,'' said Bianculli, who teaches about television for Rowan University.

A stone face is a story, too, Michaels said. The only question is how much a producer should go back to the shot.

He said he can't imagine CBS not knowing where the couple is. If they're out in public, the network will likely keep a close eye on their reactions.

``As a producer or a director in this kind of a situation, it's incumbent upon you to know where every element of the story is because you never know how it's going to evolve,'' Michaels said.

Finding the right approach ultimately shouldn't be much of a problem for CBS, he said.

``It's a little bit of a distraction at times,'' he said. ``But they'll figure out the best way to deal with it. The pictures won't lie.''

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just one game after losing a starting safety for the season with a knee injury, the Ravens lost another key contributor in the secondary. 

DeShon Elliott suffered a knee injury Sunday against the Bengals and will likely be out for the remainder of the season, coach John Harbaugh said. 

“I do have bad news with DeShon Elliott, it looks like he’s going to be out for the year, unfortunately,” Harbaugh said. “Just way worse than we thought it was going to be, doctors thought after the game. That’s preliminary, but it sounded like they were pretty confident that it wasn’t good.”

Elliott, a second-year pro out of Texas, was a sixth round pick in 2018, but missed the season with a broken forearm. 

He played in six games this season and registered six total tackles.

Elliott’s injury is the second season-ending injury to a safety in back-to-back weeks, as Tony Jefferson is out with a knee injury as well. 

Harbaugh said it was “very possible” the team could explore adding a player outside the organization to fill Elliott and Jefferson’s spot in the secondary.

Through the season, the Ravens have now lost Tavon Young, Jefferson and Elliott to season-ending injuries and are still without Jimmy Smith, who is out with an MCL sprain.

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Anquan Boldin retires as a Raven, the organization he always wanted to be with

Anquan Boldin retires as a Raven, the organization he always wanted to be with

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Anquan Boldin wanted to be a Raven just over a year before he actually became one. 

After Boldin and the Cardinals fell in the 2009 Super Bowl to the Steelers, Boldin and Ray Lewis sat at the Pro Bowl and talked about what they could do to get Boldin to Baltimore. 

“Me and Ray had a conversation poolside trying to figure out how I was going to get here and how we were going to make it happen,” Boldin recalled. “The only thing on his mind was, ‘We’ve got to beat Pittsburgh. Can you help us do that?’ I told him, ‘Get me there, I’ll take care of it.’” 

About 13 months after that conversation, Boldin was traded to the Ravens for third and fourth-round picks. He played three seasons in Baltimore from 2010 through 2012, where he won a Super Bowl with the team in the 2012 season. 

He registered 837, 887 and 921 yards, respectively, in his three seasons in Baltimore for 2,645 yards total. He also had 14 touchdowns, including one in Super Bowl XLVII. 

In the 2012 playoffs, Boldin had 380 yards on 22 receptions with four touchdowns as the Ravens' offense carried the team to a Super Bowl win. 

“This is the sixth guy that has retired a Raven, and five of them played for other teams,” former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. “This organization does a very good job and it begins at the top with Steve.”

Over his 14-year NFL career, Boldin was a three-time Pro Bowler, 2003 Offensive Rookie of The Year and 2015 Walter Payton Man of The Year. He had 91 total touchdowns (including playoffs) and nearly 14,000 yards receiving —which places him 14th all-time. 

Boldin began his career in Arizona with the Cardinals before his three-year run in Baltimore. He was traded in 2013 to the 49ers and spent three years there before capping his career in 2016 with the Lions. 

“It’s definitely an honor to retire a Raven,” Boldin said. “I played for four different organizations, but there’s no other organization, I would say, that had an impact on myself and my family like this organization...I can truly say this organization, this community embraced us fully from the first day we got here.”

While everyone lauded his abilities in the locker room, coach John Harbaugh also praised his ability to make contested catches. In just three years, Boldin make a significant impact on the Ravens receiving corps.

“The fact that you want to retire a Raven is probably one of the biggest honors we’ve had around here,” Harbaugh said to Boldin. 

Boldin said an organization never embraced him like the Ravens did for his three years in the purple and black.

“We truly feel like we are Ravens for life,” Boldin said. “We appreciate you guys for accepting us.”

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