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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Love John Harbaugh's honesty, but ...

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

For pure entertainment value, you simply can't beat what Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during Tuesday during an interview with ESPN 1000. It's rare that you hear an NFL coach accuse another franchise of stealing draft spots, but that's exactly what Harbaugh said while discussing the now-infamous botched trade between the Ravens and Chicago Bears during the first round of the April draft.

As a practical matter, however, it's moot. At the end of the day, the Bears, Ravens and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell agreed on one thing: No league rules were broken in the matter. Even if the Bears did exactly what Harbaugh believes they did -- backing out of a trade to swap first-round picks when they realized it wasn't necessary to draft the player they wanted -- no discipline will be forthcoming.

The ultimate question, as we discussed in Tuesday's SportsNation chat, is whether the Bears' current front office will encounter difficulty finding trade partners in future drafts.

It's not ideal to have a respected coach on record saying what Harbaugh said. Namely: "They can get mad at me if they want, but I'm not buying the mistake thing. It wasn't a mistake. They knew what they were doing." While the Ravens probably won't be first in line to make the next deal with the Bears, most teams will do what's best for them at the moment. If they believe they can help themselves by swapping picks with the Bears, they'll do it with little or no regard for the Ravens' side of how this event went down.

I admire and appreciate Harbaugh's raw honesty, but I don't see any lasting repercussions here.