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John Harbaugh praises, defends Courtney Upshaw's blocking on punt returns

Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw is bracing for a potential fine from the NFL after being penalized for his block on New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley.

While praising Upshaw's blocking on the punt return team, including a block that injured Jets linebacker Troy Davis and didn't receive a penalty, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he isn't so sure the hit on the punter deserved a penalty.

"The other one, I’m not so sure about,"  Harbaugh said. "It’s our understanding that if the punter or kicker is making a move -- the return is coming this way and he’s making a move toward the return, that you’re allowed to block him.

"I sure would hate to see him make the tackle. And he did it with two hands, so he didn’t do anything with his helmet; it certainly wasn’t a dangerous block. We don’t want to just let the punter go make tackles, so we’ve got to get a ruling on that.”

Upshaw is expecting to hear from the league office, though.

"From my understanding, they're going to protect the punters just like a quarterback," Upshaw said. "I thought it was clean. I'm not a dirty player. As soon as he threw [the flag], my whole thought process was, 'This fine is going to be crazy.' Hey, I think it was clean."

The first block on Davis caused him to leave the game with a chest injury after initially being checked out for a concussion. Upshaw's big block cleared a path for Jacoby Jones on a 37-yard punt return.

"The first block was a great block," Harbaugh said. "It was perfectly legal; I thought he did a great job of understanding the rule and executing it really, really well."

awilson@baltsun.com

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