'Dry run' gives Harbaughs idea of what to expect

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'Dry run' gives Harbaughs idea of what to expect

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Jack and Jackie Harbaugh are spending Super Bowl week celebrating the good fortune of having two sons at the pinnacle of pro football.

Once the Super Bowl between John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens and Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers has ended this Sunday night, the parents know their first priority will be expressing sympathy to the coach who didn't get to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

``The one thing that I do think about is after the game. There is going to be one winner and there is going to be one that is going to be totally disappointed. My thoughts go to that one that will not experience the thrill of victory,'' Jack Harbaugh said. ``That's where our thoughts will be.''

Harbaugh explained that he and Jackie had a ``dry run'' on how to handle the postgame last season when the Niners lost at Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.

After leaving an office in the stadium where they watched the game - in private and emotionless - the first locker room they walked past was that of the Ravens.

``We've all experienced that excitement of victory-guys jumping up and down, the smile on John's face. They were just ecstatic. ... Then you realize that you're not needed here,'' Jack said. ``You walk across the hall, and you went into the 49ers locker room and you walked and you saw the players walking about - that look in their eyes, that look of not being successful and coming up short. We opened up a couple doors and finally saw Jim all by himself in this room, just a table and a chair. He was still in his coaching outfit. His head down in his hands and you looked into his eyes and you realized that this where you're needed as a parent.

``Every single parent can identify with that,'' he continued. ``On Sunday night, we're going to experience both of those great emotions. Our thoughts will be with the one that comes up a little short.''

Now comes the second act in New Orleans, which happens to be the home of another set of parents who can relate to watching NFL games involving two of their sons on opposing teams: the Mannings.

As it turns out, Jack Harbaugh said, Archie Manning called before the Niners-Ravens Thursday night tilt last season to offer some advice.

``The advice was this, `This will be over on Friday. I promise you it will be over on Friday,''' Harbaugh recalled. ``Sure enough it was great advice and that's exactly how it happened.''

The elder Harbaugh was a longtime coach himself, and a former assistant of Bo Schembechler at Michigan, where Jim quarterback before a playing career in the NFL, followed by a college coaching career and then his NFL head coaching debut just last season in San Francisco.

Jack credited Jackie for taking their sons to Michigan practices when they were young so they could learn about what their father did during long days at work. And he was thrilled that they wanted to play and later coach football.

Now that has put them in the spotlight in the Big Easy, where the Harbaugh parents were fittingly at ease as they sat - talk show style - in lounge chairs in front of a large crowd of international media.

Jack opened the news conference by loudly asking, rhetorically, ``Who has it better than us?''

Then he and Jackie both exclaimed, ``Nobody!''

It appeared well rehearsed because it has long been a family motto.

But when it comes to navigating the rest of Super Bowl week, they acknowledged they were neophytes, and didn't have much of a plan beyond spending time with relatives and friends. They didn't even know where they were sitting for the game. They added that both sons have simply urged them to make sure they enjoy the experience.

When asked if the knowledge that one son will lose will diminish their enjoyment of the game, Jackie Harbaugh said, ``I don't think so because we will see both of them after the game. We're going to hug both of them and tell them how proud we are of them.''

In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

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In latest comeback bid, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta's confidence not a problem

Not everyone close to Dennis Pitta was immediately sold on his second NFL comeback attempt. Will his twice-fractured hip hold up? How much is Pitta risking his long-term health?

Pitta has pondered those questions for months. But after the first week of OTA’s, the Ravens’ 30-year-old tight end remained confident he had made the right decision.

“I had to convince a few people, and I’m thankful for those who have been in my corner all along and had my best interests in mind,” Pitta said. “Like I’ve said before, I know my situation better than anyone else, and I’m confident in the decision I made to come back, and certainly there were people who wanted to make sure that I was confident in that decision. I have a great support team behind me, and we all feel good about this move.”

Pitta first fractured his hip during training camp in 2013, then again on a non-contact play against the Browns in 2014. However, Pitta says he doesn’t think about his right hip when he’s on the field. He’s also not lowering his expectations, despite not playing at all in 2015, and not playing a full season since 2012.

Pitta was one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, catching 61 passes for 669 yards during the 2012 regular season, then adding 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns during the Ravens’ playoff run to a Super Bowl title.

Asked if he could return that level of play, Pitta suggested, “Why not?”

“No, my expectations haven’t changed from four years ago, to two years ago, to now,” Pitta said. “My level of expectation is extremely high going into this year. Like I said, I feel confident in how I can run, how I can move, how I can play and it’s just a matter of getting those reps back to where I’m confident in doing all of that. So, yes, expectations personally are very high.”

Pitta obviously wasn’t ready to end his career. If he is on the 53-man roster Week 1, it will be a terrific comeback story.

Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

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Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown go to Penguins playoff game

If you didn't the the Pittsburgh Steelers enough already, this ought to help. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and receiver Antonio Brown decided to take in some hockey on Thursday and unfortunately, they were cheering for the local team.

On the one hand, what do you expect? They play for the Pittsburgh Steelers so it's no surprise to see them cheering for the hometown team. On the other hand, the Steelers are the team Ravens fans all love to hate so to see them supporting the chief rivals of the Washington Capitals, that stings.

Just one more reason to hate the Steelers this football season.

RELATED: SEAN PAYTON SAYS RAVENS LOSING WEEK OF OTAS ISN'T THAT BIG OF A DEAL

Sean Payton says Ravens losing week of OTAs isn't that big of a deal

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Sean Payton says Ravens losing week of OTAs isn't that big of a deal

The Ravens forfeited one week of OTAs as part of their punishment for breaking offseason workout rules (the team dressed players in full pads during rookie minicamp, which is a no-go). But don't worry guys, Saints head coach Sean Payton says that's no biggie. 

Of course a few OTA days seem like peanuts to a guy who was suspended for all of 2012, you may be thinking. But hear the man out.  

During a radio interview with PFT Live, Payton was asked about the impact of losing those sessions. 

I don’t think it’s a big deal. The reason I say that is, look, it doesn’t keep the players from lifting and running and so a week of OTAs would be three on-the-field sessions. You don’t want to lose those opportunities and, shoot, one of those opportunities you might have some type of team building experience set up. I think each team does similar things during the OTAs. There’s a lot of offense versus defense. There’s some restrictions regarding one-on-ones but the players are out there in their element, and they’re going though a little bit of a practice format for two hours. So really that equates to about six hours on the field.

Payton explained that the offseason's first phases are valuable because players return to the facility to work out and build camaraderie.

The Ravens may miss out on practice elements, but they're still getting to do what's most important at this early juncture.