For the second time in four games, Flacco finished a nice scramble with an awkward slide on the brace protecting his surgically repaired left knee. In a victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 6, Flacco hopped off the field on his right foot to replace the brace, and had to miss three plays. In Sunday’s 19-14 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, he adjusted his brace quickly and didn't miss any game time.
On Monday, Harbaugh made clear his stance on Flacco’s slides.
“You don’t slide on your knee,” he said. “He and I have had that conversation. He can be mad at me now because I said it publicly. We all played baseball. He wants to talk about a pop-up slide. Maybe that’s what he did in high school. But you can’t do a pop-up slide on a knee brace. It’s just as simple as that. You’ve got to get down there on those glutes. That’s what’s got to happen. It’s not the first time he’s heard that.”
Harbaugh said the greatest concern is that Flacco’s habit of sliding will increase the risk of his knee incurring another serious injury.
“I just want to see him not drive his brace into the ground,” Harbaugh said. “He’s said he’s always slid, he’s kind of slid that way with what he would describe as a pop-up slide. It’s not working with the knee brace. I see the same thing that everybody else sees, and he knows it.”
Flacco smoothly slid on his butt in a 28-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 10, suggesting he had learned how not to put a scare in his family members, teammates, and fans. After Sunday’s game, he acknowledged that he had returned to his earlier form.
“In this game, I’m running, and I was looking for a hole to crawl into, and you just get down as quickly as you can, and my natural slide comes up where I’m just kind of sliding on my knee and my shin and just want to get down quick,” Flacco said. “So I’m probably going to have to deal with it for a while until I can, like, retrain myself to slide on my right side or get on my butt. I don’t want to start diving head first and doing all that stuff because then you can fumble, and they can hit you and all that stuff. It’s just something I’m going to have deal with and get a little bit better at.”