PHOENIX — Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that the organization tries to use "basic common sense and fairness" in dealing with players who encounter off-the-field trouble.
Like team president Dick Cass did a day earlier, Harbaugh reiterated that the team doesn't have a zero-tolerance policy. That has come into question after the organization wasted no time in releasing three players – Terrence Cody, Victor Hampton and Bernard Pierce – after learning of their off-the-field issues this offseason.
"I don't know of any organization in the world that has that [zero tolerance] rule," Harbaugh said during the AFC head coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. "I thought Dick Cass said it very well yesterday and laid it out perfectly, so I agree with what he said."
Harbaugh spoke less than a week after Pierce was arrested on drunken driving charges. The Ravens released Pierce, who was then claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens' decision to release him was more noteworthy than them jettisoning Cody and Hampton.
Cody played in just one game last year and was not going to be re-signed in free agency. Hampton had just been signed to a reserve-futures deal and had yet to speak with team officials.
"I was disappointed for Bernard. Bernard is a guy that I would say, we've grown close over the years through just personal conversations and some of the things that he's been through in his life," Harbaugh said. "We've had very long conversations about and I consider him a friend and I want to see what's best for him. He's made some choices that have hurt him and hopefully he can rebound from that. I think he understands that.
"I kind of feel like, not a father figure, but a mentor-type guy and I've told him that. If you make good decisions, good things will happen for you. The other ones, Terrence Cody, I like Terrence Cody. That was going to happen anyway in terms of the contract situation as a free agent. And I've never met the other guy. I didn't really give that any thought at all."
Asked if he felt other Ravens would learn a lesson from the mistakes their former teammates made and how the organization handled them, Harbaugh said: "They are grown men. They'll draw from it what they will. That's as it should be."