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Harbaugh continues to defend Lewis, Suggs

A day after the Ravens' 15-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, coach John Harbaugh continued to assert that neither Ray Lewis nor Terrell Suggs did anything to warrant the penalties that contributed to Sunday's setback.

Lewis was whistled for tripping Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer even though the middle linebacker was undercut by running back Bernard Scott and rolled into Palmer. Suggs was flagged for roughing the passer and slamming Palmer into the turf even though Suggs' head was down and the outside linebacker was already off his feet when Palmer uncorked the pass.

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Both calls led to Mike Nugent field goals. Harbaugh said Lewis and Suggs did nothing wrong.

"You try to coach your guys to do things – from a technique standpoint – correctly," Harbaugh said. "There's no corrections that you can make in those two penalties. Those guys did exactly what they were asked to do within the rules of the game. I thought they did it perfectly. Ray got cut, he was going 100 miles an hour, he got cut, he was rolling on the ground, his legs were on the ground when Carson tripped. What am I going to tell Ray as a coach? Terrell wrapped up the quarterback and tackled him. That's what we coach our guys to do. They did exactly what we coach them to do, and you just move on from there. You can't control the rest of it."

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As they have done in the past, the Ravens will send in film of both calls and ask the league office for explanations. But Harbaugh went out of his way to establish his respect for what on-field officials have to deal with.

"I think the league does a good job," he said. "I think they work really hard to make us understand what the officials are looking at and all that stuff. They do the best they can with it. It's a tough job. It's not easy. We just move on. It's not something that we're going to sit there and worry about. They'll do the best they can to get better, and we'll do the best we can to get better."

In a related matter, Harbaugh said he went a little too far in trying to demonstrate what Suggs did in the coach's conversation with line judge Ron Marinucci after the call.

"He's one of the best in the league," Harbaugh said of Marinucci. "He's really talented. I was a little animated in describing the strike zone, I think, and I think he understood the emotions of it. And I'll make sure that I let him know that I think I was over the line in my animation – without question. That's something you never want to do. The point is, we had great conversations with those guys throughout the game. We disagreed and it was animated, but it was respectful throughout. I know that Ron understood that."

Other notes:

*Harbaugh said running back Ray Rice practiced Monday and did not appear hobbled by the ankle injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. "He's got a little ankle, but he was out there today," Harbaugh said. "So he looked OK." Harbaugh said he was still waiting for an update on linebacker Tavares Gooden, whose left shoulder was in a sling after Sunday's game. "We'll see," Harbaugh said. "He got the MRI [magnetic resonance imaging exam], so I don't know until that comes back. Wednesday, we'll just kind of see where he's at. We've got a lot of guys – like most Mondays – with bumps and bruises. Tavares' looks a little more serious because he had to get an MRI and hopefully, that will come back not too major."

*Harbaugh had no news on whether second-round pick Sergio Kindle would or had already signed a one-year deal with the team, as speculated by Pro Football Talk. "I have not heard," Harbaugh said. "I don't know. I hope so. That would be great."

*Tom Zbikowski looked much more settled on punt returns, and Harbaugh was pleased with his performance except for one decision. "I thought Zbikowski looked better on all but one," Harbaugh said. "The one that was kicked over in the left corner, he tried to bring back into the middle. That was a flashback. I didn't like that one at all. If he just goes straight up the field, he's got 15 yards where he's not going to get touched. But the rest of them were good. He took the ball north and south and made some plays."

*Cornerback Cary Williams returned Monday after serving a two-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. "I think he was out there today," Harbaugh said. "We'll get him into meetings and get him back on track. He went through the whole training camp and the whole offseason, so I don't think it'll be too much. It was good to see his face." The team must released a player from its 53-man active roster to make room for Williams, but Harbaugh said the deadline to do so is Tuesday at 4 p.m.

*Next Sunday's opponent is winless, but Harbaugh cautioned against overlooking the Cleveland Browns. "Every team in this league is really hungry," he said. "Obviously, they're looking for a win, and so are we. Every team is dangerous and that's proven – week in and week out. So we respect the Cleveland Browns."

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