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Andy Reid has been a big influence on John Harbaugh

Eagles coach has been a mentor to Baltimore Ravens coach

By Aaron Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

7:23 AM EDT, September 12, 2012

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Besides his father, few coaches' words hold greater weight with John Harbaugh than Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.

It was Reid who shifted Harbaugh to secondary coach during his final season on the Eagles' coaching staff, a move that boosted the resume of the longtime special teams coordinator prior to being hired by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.

Harbaugh witnessed how Reid dealt with every imaginable situation, from the controversy surrounding Terrell Owens to how to consistently guide a team into the playoffs.

Now, Harbaugh returns to Philadelphia on Sunday for the first time during the regular season since coming to Baltimore.

"Andy has been a huge influence," Harbaugh said. "He's been an influence on a lot of guys. A number of guys off his staff have gone on to be head coaches, that's a great testament to how he does things.

"I've got a lot of respect for Andy, I've got a lot of love for his family. We've been pretty close over the years. I have immense respect for what he's done, how he's done it and, sure, it's impacted some of the things we've done here."

Although Harbaugh and Reid remain close, there won't be much interaction as both coaches plot strategies heading into kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field.

"Haven’t talked very much recently, I’m not sure why," Harbaugh said with a smile. "Actually I think I do know why. The schedule makers laid this thing out and that’s just how it works."

Sharp timing

The strong rapport between quarterback Joe Flacco and tight end Dennis Pitta was on full display during the Ravens' 44-13 rout Monday night of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Flacco trusted that Pitta would come down with a high arcing lob. And Pitta delivered with a touchdown catch, elevating over cornerback Leon Hall to stake the Ravens to a 24-13 third quarter lead.

"I had a smaller guy on me and Joe saw a mismatch," said Pitta, who finished with five receptions for a career-high 73 receiving yards. "I was able to box him out a little bit, and Joe put the ball up where only I would be able to go up and get it. So, it was a big play for us and Joe did a great job.”

Pitta and Flacco have become good friends off the field with their families often socializing together.

"Joe and Dennis are buddies," Harbaugh said. "How much does that carry over to the field? I have no idea. I don't know if that does or doesn't, but they are pals."

Disputing a penalty

Cornerback Lardarius Webb took exception to being flagged for a personal foul in the fourth quarter when he smashed into Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

Webb insists that he had no ill intent on the collision.

"I'm going to say it wasn't a great call, but I'm going to leave it up to the NFL," Webb said. "They can see I left my feet before he threw it. It was just a hard-effort play. I wasn't trying to be dirty, not trying to kill
him.

"Adversity, we couldn't let that call affect us. Ray Lewis said, Don't let this one get to us, move on, move on.' Whenever he speaks, we listen."

Harbaugh indicated that the team sent more than one call from the replacement officials to the league for further explanation.

"I don't know that I'm at liberty to comment on what plays those are, but we're sending a couple of those in," Harbaugh said. "I thought they did a pretty good job of keeping the game moving. In our game, at least, they did pretty well."

Rainey to practice squad

One day after being cut from the roster, rookie running back Bobby Rainey cleared waivers and
was signed to the practice squad.

Rainey takes the practice squad spot previously occupied by running back Anthony Allen, who was
promoted to the active roster Monday and rushed for 13 yards on four carries. Allen was moved up primarily for special teams.

"I basically just want to pick up where I left off," Rainey said. "Offensively, I think I'm
good. To get on offense, I have to do more on special teams."

Rainey acknowledged he was initially upset and confused when he was cut.

"It was a surprise to me, it caught me off-guard," Rainey said. "That's the way this business works. I knew that coming into the NFL. For it to be that sudden, it was crazy to me. I understand what happened."

Harbaugh weighs in on Jim Harbaugh-Schwartz flap

Harbaugh channeled his inner historian when asked if he expects more fireworks between his brother, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, and Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz during the traditional postgame handshake Sunday night.

"I don't think there's been so much attention paid to a handshake since Grant and Lee shook hands at Appomattox," Harbaugh said.

So, who would Jim Harbaugh be in that Civil War reference?

"Obviously, he was Grant for the record," Harbaugh said with a laugh.

End zone

Harbaugh downplayed the severity of any injuries, including free safety Ed Reed's strained right hamstring and cornerback Corey Graham's minor leg ailment. "Everybody's fine," he said. "Nothing serious with anybody." ... There wasn't much of an explanation for why Jacoby Jones, who was signed to a $7 million deal to be the primary return specialist, only had one punt return against Cincinnati. Webb handled the other punt and rookie Deonte Thompson returned kickoffs while Jones caught three passes for 46 yards. "That really wasn't it," said Harbaugh when asked if Jones was limited on special teams
because of his role on offense. "That was his role on special teams what he played in those particular reps. We've got a plan with the other guys. We feel like we have some guys that can do some things."

awilson@baltsun.com