Over his decade-plus with the Ravens, John Harbaugh has seen his share of coaching turnover. Take offensive coordinator: Marty Mornhinweg is his fifth since Harbaugh was named head coach in 2008.
But over the years, Harbaugh has grown close to another pillar of Baltimore sports: former Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Showalter had overseen the club since August 2010, helping lead the Orioles to three playoff appearances, including an American League East title and the AL Championship Series in 2014. But the organization announced two weeks ago that Showalter would not be retained after presiding over the worst season in franchise history.
At his weekly news conference, Harbaugh said Monday that he’d received a text message from Showalter after the Ravens’ 21-0 win Sunday over the Tennessee Titans. The two have “gotten to be good friends,” Harbaugh said, with golf dates and the occasional suggestion from Showalter that he teach quarterback Joe Flacco how to slide.
Before taking questions from reporters, Harbaugh said he wanted to note that he “really, really admire[s] him, respect[s] him.”
“I've learned so much from him over the years as a coach and a leader, and relating to players, all different things that come up,” he said. “And just wanted to acknowledge that and, I think, what a great job he did in Baltimore, how amazing he's been for the fans, for his fans in Baltimore, how much I've enjoyed watching his teams play, what a great job he did for the Orioles.
“So I just want to just say that and get it out there, because he hit me last night about our team and stuff, and I always enjoy talking to him."
The two shared the stage together two years ago for an autism event in Towson. They bonded over the misery of disappointing seasons, and Showalter lavished praise on Harbaugh's insights.
“I'm stealing like a son of a gun,” Showalter told WBAL (1090 AM). “I'm trying to get to the car now and write some stuff down before I forget it. … I love listening to John talk. I wish I could've been out in the audience."