Harbaugh, Shurmur Familiar Foes

The two coached together for 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 at 9:54 am | Categories: Garrett Downing, Week 13 vs Browns

John Harbaugh and Pat Shurmur have talked a lot of football over the years.

Whether it was during a jog, on the golf course, or in the coaching office, the two have swapped plenty of stories and ideas about the game. They moved up the NFL ranks together, and on Sunday, they’ll find themselves on opposite sidelines, coaching against each other for the first time as head coaches.

“My emotions are to the football game on Sunday – being emotionally ready to coach, but, Pat’s a great friend,” Harbaugh said earlier this week.

Shurmur was hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns this offseason – his first head coaching job in the NFL – after the Browns fired Eric Mangini following two straight 5-11 seasons.

When Cleveland hired Shurmur, Harbaugh said at the time that he was excited about the move, as the two coached together for 10 seasons as members of the Philadelphia Eagles staff.

“I feel like we kind of cut our teeth on the NFL coaching profession together,” Shurmur said on Wednesday’s conference call with the Baltimore media.

Harbaugh and Shurmur were Eagles assistant coaches from 1998-2007. Harbaugh coached special teams and the secondary, while Shurmur coached the quarterbacks for most of his tenure.

Harbaugh was then hired as the head coach of the Ravens in 2008, and Shurmur became the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2009. After two seasons in St. Louis, he was hired in Cleveland.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for John and what he’s accomplished,” Shurmur said. “We shared a lot of fun years together in Philadelphia.”

The Browns are 4-7 and have gone through some growing pains in Shurmur’s first year, but Harbaugh thinks their future is bright.

“He’s obviously a really good coach and you can certainly see what he’s building there in Cleveland as far as the way he’s putting that team together,” Harbaugh said.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Harbaugh has gone up against a familiar face on the opposing sidelines, as his brother Jim is the head coach of San Francisco.

The Ravens won that game 16-6, and they’re hoping on Sunday to continue their six-game winning streak over the Browns.

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