Friday, January 25, 2013
Newsome: No one pressured Harbaugh
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Everyone can agree that firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with three weeks remaining in the regular season was a bold decision. But was it entirely coach John Harbaugh's decision?
Asked whether he or owner Steve Bisciotti pushed Harbaugh to fire Cameron, Newsome shook his head emphatically before saying no eight times.
"That would't be fair to John. John has to stand before his coaching staff and his players," Newsome said Friday. "If at any one point do they think that he is overly influenced by Steve or I, he loses his staff and his players. It has to be him."
According to Newsome, Harbaugh started talking about removing Cameron after the Ravens got off the bus from a 31-28 overtime loss at Washington. Newsome said he spoke to Harbaugh as they both drove home that night. "I think I might have to make a decision," Harbaugh told Newsome, and he listed the reasons why.
The next morning, Harbaugh approached Newsome with the news.
"When he walked into my office and told me that he was going to make that decision, he had a peace about himself," Newsome said.
Other topics Newsome addressed:
- He said this season has played out like "that dream that little kids have along the way when they're growing up." The first player whom he drafted in Baltimore, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, and the man who hired him as general manager, Art Modell, could both be selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame a day before the Ravens play in the Super Bowl. If that wasn't enough, Newsome gets to watch his most celebrated draft pick, Ray Lewis, play his final down in that game. "I don't think you could have written that script," Newsome said.
- Newsome, the first African-American general manager in the NFL, said he would like to see the number of minority hires in the league to be better and acknowledged that the diversity committee will work to get it better. There were eight head coaching jobs in the NFL this year, and none were filled by a minority candidate. "I can remember way back 18, 19 years ago and all we were asking of the commissioner and owners was just give us the chance to get in front of you. I think the opportunity is there," Newsome said. "I'd like for the other African-Americans to get an opportunity, but John Harbaugh is a good football coach and Jim Harbaugh is a good football coach and Rob Chudzinski is a good football coach. They're [the owners] not making bad decisions. It's a good pool of candidates out there that people have to choose from."
- Before speaking to reporters, Newsome said he wouldn't talk about quarterback Joe Flacco's contract status until after the Super Bowl. But he was still asked about where talks stand with Flacco, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March. "Joe and I have a very good understanding about his contract and where we are," Newsome said. "End of story." In reality, Flacco isn't going anywhere. If the Ravens don't get a long-term deal done with him in February, they will put the franchise tag on him.