Veteran running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery broke his silence Friday, one week after parting ways with the Ravens' coaching staff.
Montgomery, 59, told The Baltimore Sun Friday evening that he harbors no hard feelings toward the Ravens.
"It was a good six years in Baltimore," Montgomery said. "It was a good run, but I understand why it's time for me to move on. I wish those guys well and hope they have a great season and wish them well. Things, they do run their course.
"It's no big deal. I've been around for a long time, as a player and a coach. I'm OK. It doesn't bother me. I'll be fine."
The Ravens finished 30th in the NFL in rushing during an 8-8 season where they failed to qualify for the playoffs one year after winning the Super Bowl, averaging just 83 yards per game and ranking last with a 3.1 average per carry.
As running backs Ray Rice (hip flexor, quadriceps) and Bernard Pierce (shoulder, knee, hamstring, toe) dealt with injuries and the offensive line struggled to create holes, the Ravens finished with 1,328 rushing yards for the lowest mark in franchise history. The previous low point was 1,589 yards during the 1997 season.
"I'm glad it didn't happen with me [leaving] during the season, but I will miss those guys," Montgomery said. "We did the best we could and things just didn't go our way this year."
Montgomery said that he hasn't been contacted for any job interviews yet, but intends to coach next season, perhaps with Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell should he land a head-coaching position after interviews with the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans.
"Jim has been out there pounding the pavement," Montgomery said. "I'd definitely be interested in working with him again. Jim is a great coach and a great person."
Montgomery's departure represents the only change to the coaching staff since the season ended other than coach John Harbaugh announcing Wednesday that Juan Castillo will return as the offensive line coach and will no longer have the title of run-game coordinator.
More changes are expected to the staff, though, depending on what happens with Caldwell.
When asked about Castillo, a former Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach, Montgomery said: "Juan's a good guy and a good coach. You can't change everything right away. Juan is a good teacher and he can help those guys a lot."
Montgomery is a two-time Pro Bowl running back who played nine seasons in the NFL and rushed for 6,538 career yards with the Eagles as their franchise career leader. He has coached 17 seasons in the NFL, including a stint with the St. Louis Rams where he coached Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson, and two years with the Detroit Lions prior to being hired by the Ravens.
When Harbaugh announced that Montgomery wouldn't return last week, he issued a statement that Montgomery had decided to pursue other coaching and life opportunities.
“I want to thank him for everything he did for our organization,” Harbaugh said. “Wilbert has been a tremendous coach for the Ravens, and he has played an integral role in the success we’ve experienced over the past several seasons. I have a great deal of respect for the person Wilbert is, not just as a coach, but also as an outstanding family man and someone who inspires everyone around him.
“In addition to his knowledge of the game and ability to connect with his players, Wilbert brought a passion to the Ravens that helped our team — and the individuals on it — reach tremendous heights.”