John Harbaugh

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New Ravens QB Joe Callahan was taught the position by offensive coordinator Greg Roman as a teenager

New Ravens QB Joe Callahan was taught the position by offensive coordinator Greg Roman as a teenager

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - It is not the way any team wants to start training camp. But with backup quarterback Robert Griffin III's broken thumb, that's the scenario the Ravens face. 

Griffin was hurt Saturday when he smashed his right hand on a teammate’s helmet. He could miss four-to-six weeks. Enter Joe Callahan, who has been with five other NFL teams and tried out for several others, but found a perfect fit with Baltimore. 

To say Callahan, 26, is familiar with offensive coordinator Greg Roman is an understatement. He was Callahan’s offensive coordinator during his sophomore year of high school in 2008 at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J. 

That was Roman’s one-year hiatus from the NFL after 13 years as an assistant coach. He returned to his alma mater, Holy Spirit, to help coach while waiting for another opportunity. That came as the tight ends coach for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford in 2009. Two years later he followed Harbaugh to the San Francisco 49ers as the offensive coordinator and has remained in the NFL ever since. 

Roman turned Callahan into a quarterback that sophomore season, moving him from safety. He didn’t play much, but Holy Spirit won a state title and two years later in 2010 did it again – this time with Callahan as the starting quarterback. He became an All-American at Division III Wesley College. 

“Greg takes full credit for his career,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh joked on Wednesday. 

An undrafted free agent in 2015, Callahan worked his way into opportunities with Green Bay, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Cleveland. He played in a game for the Packers in 2017. He’s had try-outs with Oakland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and the New York Giants.

Baltimore needed help fast. Without Griffin, the only quarterbacks on the roster are starter Lamar Jackson and former Penn State star Trace McSorely, a sixth-round pick this past spring. Especially in the early preseason games, Callahan should get plenty of work. Griffin could be back for the season-opener against Miami on Sept. 8, so Callahan remains a roster long shot. But he has another chance, and with a familiar face this time. 

“I thought Joe looked good [Wednesday],” Harbaugh said. “He has a good arm. He’s won games in the preseason in Green Bay. He’s been in Cleveland. He’s an experienced guy. I think it’s a really interesting story.”



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Why the Ravens are getting a valuable investment in four more years with John Harbaugh

Why the Ravens are getting a valuable investment in four more years with John Harbaugh

After Jon Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million deal to join the Oakland Raiders, fans of the Ravens were left wondering how much it would cost to extend John Harbaugh.

If Gruden is worth $100 million, then how much is the man who led the Ravens to seven postseason appearances in eleven years, including 10 playoff victories and the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship worth? How many years were the Ravens going to have to commit to locking up their head coach?

The answer, it turns out, is smaller than might have been expected.

The team clarified that it’s a new four-year contract, not an extension on his existing deal, meaning Harbaugh is now signed through the 2022 season. The exact terms are unclear, as the Ravens don’t typically release specifics, but it appears he’ll be well-compensated relative to his peers.

This is a simple, straightforward deal which will keep Harbaugh in Baltimore through the next few years, allowing him to continue to rebuild the roster around their newest QB. That, in a vacuum, isn't particularly exciting. For Ravens fans? It’s news worth cheering.

It doesn't sound like a long time, especially when compared to Gruden’s deal, but four years is an eternity in the NFL. It’s really more of a three-year deal, as ownership would likely want to avoid a lame duck season if it came to that.

By 2022, Lamar Jackson might no longer be a Raven, if the team chooses not to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Obviously, the front office is hoping Jackson will have established himself as a long term fixture at quarterback by then, but the point remains, it could be a completely different roster.

The Ravens as an organization also preach consistency, especially when it comes to leadership. When Ozzie Newsome stepped down as general manager, it was longtime right-hand man Eric DeCosta who stepped up to fill the role. With that shift, it was thought that Harbaugh may seek greater responsibilities in building out the team’s roster, but he clarified that wasn't the case.

Despite a full month elapsing between the time the Ravens announced they were working toward an agreement and the report that a deal had been reached, Harbaugh says the negotiations went “real smooth.” This is clearly an outcome all sides want to come to.

It’s not a surprising contract, good or bad. It’s a reasonable length, maybe only a year or two shorter than expected. It seems to be for a reasonable amount of money per season, and there were no sweeping changes in responsibility for any party.

This past season, Harbaugh recorded his 100th win with the Ravens. With this contract, he’ll have the chance to add plenty more to that total in the next few years.


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As Baltimore welcomes a new era, John Harbaugh remains a constant

As Baltimore welcomes a new era, John Harbaugh remains a constant

John Harbaugh is officially starting a new era with the Baltimore Ravens.

The team announced Thursday that they had reached a new four-year contract with Harbaugh, keeping him in Baltimore until 2022. 

The franchises' third head coach in 23 years, surrounded by media and employees of the Ravens organization, Harbaugh opened Friday's press conference with a bible verse and expressed his appreciation for his family, owner Steve Bisciotti, his players and everyone in between.

"It's just been a joy to be a Raven and to see that continue," Harbaugh said. "I guess I just can't express enough how great I feel about it. It's an honor, and a privilege, to coach the Baltimore Ravens." 

Since becoming their leader in 2008, Harbaugh and the Ravens have reached the postseason seven times and brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore during the 2012-'13 season. Harbaugh has the fourth-longest tenure among current head coaches and his 10 playoff wins are tied for third-most by any head coach since the 1970s merger. 

What separates Harbaugh from others around him is the stability he's been able to provide in a league where that is rare.

"It's also the nature of kind of what we do," Harbaugh added. "I was told in this league, three years is a career and 10 years is a lifetime. And I think that's true because every year is a new year. You start every year from the ground up and begin to build something new every single year."  

Entering the bye week on a three-game losing streak, questions about job security began arising around Harbaugh after missing the postseason three years in a row. Then, first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson replaced Joe Flacco and not only turned the Ravens' season around but possibly helped save Harbaugh's job.

But Jackson is just the start of why this go-round will be different for the 56-year-old. 

Upon becoming the head coach in 2008, general manager Ozzie Newsome also drafted the team's future franchise quarterback in Flacco. Now looking ahead to the 2019 season, Flacco will likely be elsewhere and Newsome will hand the reins over to Eric DeCosta. Harbaugh remains the one constant for Baltimore. 

"There's always going to be change. There's always going to be renewal," Harbaugh said. "We'll be a different team than we were last year. We'll be a different team than we've ever been here before because of a lot of the changes...but there's a lot of new pieces in place and I'm excited about it."