John Harbaugh: 'The injury report has no value'

A week after the Ravens were fined $20,000 by the NFL for not listing Ed Reed on the injury report, their head coach John Harbaugh said that the team will cite every “hangnail” going forward, and questioned the validity of the weekly report.

“There’s no credence on the injury report now,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It has no value. The injury report has no value.”   

Harbaugh’s rant, which he acknowledged will probably result in another fine from the league, was prompted by a question about whether he was surprised that Sunday’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, listed 19 players on the report this week.

After including only a handful of players on the report for the first seven weeks, the Ravens listed 16 players this week, a result of being fined by the league following Reed’s admission that he had been playing most of the season with a slightly torn labrum. The Ravens never listed him because the Pro Bowl safety hadn’t missed any game or practice time with the injury.

“If a guy that goes out there and doesn’t miss a practice and doesn’t miss a game and doesn’t want to be on the injury report and we have to put him on the injury report, I want the league’s answer on that,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to hearing that.”

Harbaugh also questioned the wording of the league’s injury report policy which states, “All players with significant or noteworthy injuries must be listed on the report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game. This is especially true of key players and those players whose injuries have been covered extensively by the media.”

“I’ll go back to the significance thing. The way the thing is written, it says, ‘if a player has practiced fully or played fully and he has an injury and he is a significant player and it affects his play, then he should be on there.’ Well, I think player safety is important for all of the players. I’m going to say that every injury is significant,” Harbaugh said. “If that’s how they want to word it, I’m not going to go with the league saying that one player is more significant than another player. That’s absurd to me. They can get mad at me if they want for saying that, but they need to write that a little more clearly. We’ll just put every guy on there that has a hangnail and go from there.”

Harbaugh took it further, wondering how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) factors into it. The HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of certain personal health information.

“Aren’t there HIPAA rights here?,” Harbaugh asked. “If I’m a player and I’ve been out there playing and I don’t want that on the injury report and I’m told I have to put that on the injury report, we’ve got some players that resent that. So yeah, I got a problem with that in all honesty.”

Harbaugh said that from now on, he’ll follow the lead of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick who is known for his extensive injury reports, and for weekly including players that haven’t missed any practice time.

 “Bill figured it out way before the rest of us did. His injury report is that long. It’s been that way for years,” Harbaugh said. “We tried to do it the other way and be straightforward with our injury report and we got fined for it. So we’re moving on.”

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