Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was "the best decision" to bench running back Buck Allen, but that situation was different than Timmy Jernigan's penalty.
A day after benching rookie running back Buck Allen for his second fumble in as many games, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was "the best decision," both for the team's on-field fortunes Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and for Allen's development going forward.
"Buck is a high-character, good-hearted, hard-working, very talented young man who has a great career" ahead of him, Harbaugh said. "This is something that he's going to look back in his career and say, 'You know, I learned a lot through all that.'
"He'll be back out there playing Sunday, but it was the thing to do. There's no doubt in my mind that it was the thing to do."
Allen, whose first professional regular season fumble came just before halftime against the Seattle Seahawks last week, was stripped again on his fourth carry against the Kansas City Chiefs. He didn't see the field again and finished with four carries for 18 yards.
The rookie running back, who also lost a fumble in the preseason, took responsibility for the fumble after the game Sunday. He made no excuses, and said he'd "come back harder next week."
"Buck will be back at it and he'll have a renewed focus on holding the ball where it's supposed to be when he runs through traffic," Harbaugh said.
Allen said he wasn't told he wasn't returning to the game Sunday, and Harbaugh said they had a brief discussion on the sideline, but it wasn't something that would be dwelled on.
"It was just an encouraging kind of conversation more than anything," Harbaugh said. "I haven't talked to him since. That's not the way it works. We don't need to put our arm around guys too much. They're OK. They're tough. They know how it works. They're not looking for that. He knows his opportunity is coming again and he'll be ready for it."
To some observers, Harbaugh's handling of Allen's fumble stood in contrast to the treatment of second-year defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who took an unsportsmanlike penalty for a late hit out of bounds on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on Kansas City's opening touchdown drive.
"It's just two different situations," Harbaugh said. "I remember Jimmy Johnson when he said, 'Treat everybody differently and fairly.' That's how it works."
On Jernigan's penalty, Harbaugh said he didn't have a good view of whether Smith was out of bounds or not, and the veteran quarterback knew well enough to put his foot out of bounds right before Jernigan hit him to help induce a penalty.
"You have to make a decision there, and I think he'll be able to do that with experience, that when you get right there, he's going to put his foot down," Harbaugh said. "He's an experienced quarterback. So you get right there, you get close to him, you let him smell your breath, so to speak, and he steps out of bounds. You don't hit him. That's something he can learn."
Otherwise, Harbaugh was full of praise for Jernigan, who had a career-high six tackles Sunday.
"Timmy's been a dominant player for us in the last few weeks, and no more so than he was yesterday," Harbaugh said. "He was all over the field. He played with a motor that is pretty hard to find at any level of football, and I feel like he's determined to ramp it up each week and play even harder."