By Matt Vensel
1:15 PM EDT, June 17, 2011
We haven’t heard much from Ravens coach John Harbaugh since April’s NFL draft. Sequestered in his office until the end of the lockout, Harbaugh and his staff have been busy tinkering with Xs and Os -- he recently talked to our Mike Preston at length about that -- and making a plan of attack for whenever a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the players and the owners.
Harbaugh came out of hiding on Thursday to publicly discuss the Ravens’ offseason plans on WBAL Radio.
Appearing on “Sportsline” with Brett Hollander, Harbaugh chatted about Sergio Kindle, Torrey Smith and how general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens will approach free agency after the lockout. The newsiest item was Harbaugh confirming that Kindle was cleared in March to resume contact football.
“The doctors had cleared him to play football, and that was back in March,” Harbaugh said of Kindle, who this week told a Texas newspaper that he was poised to return to the field this summer. “There is some paperwork that he has to sign off on to make that final. So I assume, since he said that he said that, he signed off on that paperwork and he’ll be ready to go, but I don’t know for a fact because I haven’t talked to Sergio.”
Harbaugh said that given what he has known about Kindle’s status, he has been under the impression that the second-year linebacker would participate in training camp. “Now to me, really, it’s just how he does,” he said. “Is there any impact from the brain injury to his athletic ability and his ability for contact?”
As for Torrey Smith, the speedy wide receiver out of Maryland, Harbaugh said he has no issue with Smith saying that he expects to play in his rookie year -- “I expect him to expect that and I would be disappointed if he didn’t expect that,” he said -- and added that Smith has “got to earn his stripes and earn his spot.”
“I’m very excited that he’s going to be on our team,” he said. “I think he’s going to be a really good football player.”
Speaking of really good football players, Harbaugh kind of talked about Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, a free agent who should command top dollar on the open market. The fourth-year coach said he has been asked about “one of the top corners” -- we can assume he meant Asomugha --but he’s not a top priority.
“Yeah, we’re interested. We’re interested in all the good players,” Harbaugh said. “[But] I like our players. To me, the No. 1 priority is our players. I want our players re-signed. And that’s Ozzie’s No. 1 priority. … If we can’t get every one of them signed, then we’ll have to look outside or we’ll go with the younger guys, depending on who those guys are.”
Check out Hollander’s full interview with Harbaugh here.
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