John Harbaugh isn't many things, but Super Bowl champion coach with the Baltimore Ravens and a joker he surely is.
After welcoming back all of his players on Monday following the Ravens bye week during the past few days, Harbaugh held his customary week-opening press conference yesterday and, obviously, was asked about Joe Flacco's debut with his new team... AFC North foes the Cleveland Browns!
While Harbaugh and Flacco share a delightful past--the quarterback led Baltimore to the coach's lone Super Bowl championship back in 2012--that's no longer the case judging by the head coach's statement on Monday, as captured by Sarah Ellison of the Ravens Vault podcast.
"Of course, I was rooting against Joe and the Browns. That’s what we did," Harbaugh joked. "I think it’s cool what Joe did. He looked really good, but I couldn’t root for him yesterday."
Good for the coach and the Ravens, Flacco debuted in Browns threads enduring a loss, the fifth this season for Cleveland and his first one of the year after not playing before Week 13 while waiting for a team to sign him to a deal.
Flacco completed 23-of-44 passes for 254 yards on Sunday, including tossing a couple of touchdowns. That said, he also threw a backbreaking interception in the fourth quarter that all but sealed the loss for his team.
It happened with the Browns just one point behind in the scoreboard, 19-20, but the Rams went on to turn that takeaway in a touchdown a few minutes later to make it 19-27 in their favor, ultimately getting away with the victory.
Harbaugh coached Flacco for 11 seasons in Baltimore and he's obviously happy for his old pal to get another crack at showcasing his talents in a league that he already proved capable of dominating more than a decade ago.
"That’s great for Joe. I saw that Joe said a few times that he wanted to play still and had plenty of juice left," Harbaugh said. "I don’t doubt Joe. I never doubt Joe. He’s an ultimate competitor. So, we’ll see what happens."
The Ravens are still in possession of the no. 1 seed in the AFC North and tied for the lead in the AFC conference with the Miami Dolphins, both sporting a 9-3 record entering Week 14.
The AFC North is led by Baltimore as they Flock holds a two-game advantage over both the Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers, both at 7-5, followed by the Cincinnati Bengals.
There are no more regular-season games between the Browns and the Ravens left to play, so if Harbaugh and Flacco meet this season that'd have to take place in the playoffs if both teams can make it far enough for that to happen.