Harbaugh apologizes for bumping official

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
10:15
AM ET
BALTIMORE -- John Harbaugh didn't grab a replacement official like Patriots coach Bill Belichick did, but the Ravens coach did make contact with one.

Harbaugh was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter, one of 14 penalties on the Ravens in a 31-30 win over the Patriots. He explained that he knocked into the official while he was trying to get the official's attention.

Harbaugh
"I guess I didn't understand how he interpreted it, but what we're told is to get the timeout where they can see it in front of their face in those situations," Harbaugh said after the game. "That's what I've been told for five years going into this game. I think he took it as bumping him. I didn't mean to bump him. I wanted to call a timeout, so I apologize for bumping, but the intent was to call a timeout."

This isn't the first time that Harbaugh has made contact with an official during a game. It was two years ago when Harbaugh touched the official after a fourth-quarter play in which Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was penalized for how he tackled Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer on an attempted sack.

Harbaugh's latest incident doesn't compare to the actions of Belichick, who grabbed the arm of an official as he was leaving the field, in what looked like an attempt to speak with him. Unlike Harbaugh, there was no apology from Belichick.

Belichick said he does not believe he will be fined for grabbing the official after the game. But there could be discipline from the league because the NFL recently issued a stern warning in a memo that stated no more abusive behavior from players, coaches or other team employees toward replacement officials would be tolerated.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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