Late For Work 12/27: Has Harbaugh Contract Extension Talk Begun?

Plus the Ravens keep pressure on Pittsburgh and reaction from Baltimoreans.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, December 27th, 2010 at 9:09 am | Categories: Late For Work, Ryan Mink

Has Harbaugh Contract Extension Talk Begun?

With a 20-10 win over the Browns, Head Coach John Harbaugh became just the fourth coach since 1990 to lead his team to the playoffs in his first three years along with Bill Cowher, Dennis Green and Barry Switzer.

But the talk about a possible contract extension for Harbaugh began before Sunday’s game even started.

During ESPN’s NFL Countdown and on Twitter, Adam Schefter reported that the Ravens have already begun contract talks with Harbaugh on a long-term extension. The analyst said a deal is expected to happen during the offseason.

Local reporters Jamison Hensley of The Baltimore Sun and Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post jumped on the topic.

Hensley tweeted that, according to a league source, talks have not already started this season and are expected to begin in the offseason. Wilson echoed that and added that Harbaugh’s agent, Bryan Harlan, told him “recently” that no long-term talks have begun.

“Upbeat about the prospects for a new deal later,” Wilson tweeted.

Wilson said Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti told him this past spring that the Ravens won’t let Harbaugh go into the final year of his contract without a new deal.

The Ravens have turned into a consistent NFL winner since 2008, when Harbaugh and his staff came to Baltimore. After yesterday’s win, Harbaugh gave a lot of credit to the organization, from Bisciotti, President Dick Cass and General Manager Ozzie Newsome down to the maintenance people.

“It’s just a real special place,” Harbaugh said. “And to me, that’s what develops a football team. It gives the coaches and the players a chance to be successful. That’s the model. I think it should be the model around the league.”

Ravens Keep Pressure On Pittsburgh

With the Ravens’ victory, the Steelers weren’t able to clinch the AFC North crown yet.

That will have to wait until the final week of the regular season when the Ravens take on the Bengals (winners of two straight including yesterday over the San Diego Chargers) at home and Pittsburgh takes on Cleveland (losers of three straight) on the road.

If both the Ravens and Steelers win, Pittsburgh takes the title by way of a better division record tiebreaker. If Baltimore wins and Pittsburgh loses, the Ravens are the champs.

“I know the chances of that probably aren’t that great,” Harbaugh said of Cleveland beating Pittsburgh. “But we also know that this is a good football team here that we just played.”

As ESPN’s James Walker pointed out, the pressure is on the Steelers.

“The Steelers face a huge question: Should it play ailing safety Troy Polamalu (Achilles tendon) against Cleveland?” Walker said. “He probably won’t be 100 percent this week. Polamalu was injured and didn’t play against the Browns last season.”

Last season, the Browns had lost seven straight games before Pittsburgh came to town. Cleveland held Pittsburgh to just six points for the win.

Immediately after Sunday’s 20-10 win over the Browns, quarterback Joe Flacco started wishing the Cleveland players good luck next week.

“I told some of the guys as we were leaving the field, ‘Hey, go get ‘em next week,’” Flacco said. “It’ll definitely be nice to see those guys go play Pittsburgh tough.”

MASN’s Dan Kolko reports that Browns running back Peyton Hillis plans to play against the Steelers despite suffering a rib injury against Baltimore. That’s good news for the Ravens.

Baltimoreans React To History

You know, it’s nice to hear from the “man on the street” as opposed to the “man on the sports talk show.”

The Baltimore Sun’s Justin Fenton went around Baltimore getting reaction to yesterday’s victory, which gave the franchise its third straight playoff appearance.

Fenton came across the Latzs at Shannon’s Pub & Grille in Baltimore Highlands. Ed Latz, a 71-year-old truck driver, raised his arms in the air and exclaimed: “We did it!”

“They believe in him [Harbaugh] and know they have a solid core,” said Latz’s son, Scott, a 40-year-old forklift mechanic. “As long as they keep running with Ray Rice, they’ll be fine. They know what they can do.”

The Super Bowl predictions were apparently aplenty. What was your reaction yesterday?

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