Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh denied being mandated to hire Gary Kubiak as his offensive coordinator after a surprising turn of events in the team's search.
There has been speculation that owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome influenced Harbaugh's decision because Kubiak emerged so late in the process. The Ravens reportedly were down to two other finalists after a two-week search, and then turned their attention to Kubiak late last week.
Asked whether Bisciotti was heavy-handed in the process, Harbaugh said, "Steve is always involved. Steve’s going to be involved. This is his team, and he sets the tone and the tempo for everything we do, and I listen, as we all do, to Steve’s advice. It would be foolish not to. Now, if you’re going further than that, then the answer is ‘no, no way.’ Steve gets involved to whatever extent he feels like he can help us, and that’s what he does."
Harbaugh named four candidates for the offensive coordinator position last week: former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson (who is now with the Minnesota Vikings) and Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler.
The Ravens conducted second interviews with Shanahan, Hostler and Wilson at the end of last week. Wilson told reporters Saturday that he was eliminated from contention. There were multiple reports that Harbaugh was going to choose between Shanahan and Hostler.
So, what changed? Harbaugh acknowledged that it was those four candidates at that point because "I don’t think coach [Kubiak] and I had come to the idea that it could work."
Harbaugh added, "At the time, we talked about the four of them, then continued conversations with Gary and with Rick [Dennison], and that evolved, I would say, in the last few days -- last five or six days."
Kubiak said he didn't begin talking to Harbaugh until the last few days. It wasn't until Sunday night at the dinner table of Harbaugh's home that the sides realized it could work.
"Of course, Gary Kubiak was on the list from the beginning," Harbaugh said, "but within the last week, it became apparent that this had a chance to be a fit for both coach and for the Ravens, and we were able to finish it up this weekend.”