Harbaugh: 'I don't understand' taunting calls

Harbaugh: 'I don't understand' taunting calls
October 31, 2011, 9:43 pm
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By John EisenbergRavens InsiderCSNbaltimore.com

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was rolling along Monday, taking questions on a variety of subjects during his weekly postmortem, when a reporter asked about the two taunting penalties the Ravens incurred Sunday against Arizona.

I saw what happened. They were right in front of me, Harbaugh said.

He paused before continuing.

Im going to have to save an opinion for the league, he finally said with a smile, because, to be honest with you, I dont understand them. Im looking forward to seeing how the league explains them to us.

Safety Bernard Pollard was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he celebrated a big hit that he delivered on Arizona tight end Jeff King in the second quarter. Players across the league routinely celebrate big hits without being penalized, but Pollard said a referee told him that he stood over King for too long.

Running back Ray Rice was also flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he posed triumphantly after breaking several tackles on a seven-yard pass reception in the fourth quarter. Although he was called for taunting, he didnt appear to be gesturing toward any player.

The second call was potentially crucial, as it effectively aborted a Baltimore possession with the score tied and eight minutes to play. The Ravens wound up winning, 30-27, but it was clear Monday that Harbaugh was still thinking about the penalties.

Im not too sure what I would tell our guys about that, he said. You try to be careful about that. You try to play with class. Look at Ray Rice, for instance. This guy is nothing but class. Hes been that way from the first day he stepped on campus, so to speak. Hes just a star. He plays with emotion and enthusiasm. Bernard is the same way. Thats the way Pittsburgh plays. Thats the way the great teams in this league play. They play with enthusiasm, emotion, love for the game.

The NFL has drawn a real clear line on whats tolerated and whats not tolerated, and I think our guys are good at understanding that. Our guys are very respectful of our opponents. So well just try to walk on that line.

While there was plenty of conversation about Sundays game, the Ravens have already turned their attention to their next game, a Sunday night rematch with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in the Steel City.

The Ravens hammered the Steelers, 35-7, in their season opener in Baltimore, but the Steelers (6-2) have stabilized, rallied and taken over first place in the AFC North.

Is there a difference between the midseason Steelers and the ones who lost badly in September?

Theyre the same team, Harbaugh said. Theyve got injuries, theyve got adversity theyve been battling. I think theyre the same Steelers theyve always been. Theyre a tough, hard-nosed team. Theyve got a great quarterback, theyve got a great defense and they're as physical as can be. Theyre a team we respect. Theyre the Steelers.

Its a big game. Its a game that we love to play in. Its Ravens-Steelers. We know how to play that game. They know how to play that game. Were looking forward to it. You know that.

Follow John Eisenberg on Twitter at @CSNEisenberg