OWINGS MILLS — Just over 24 hours before the Ravens face the Los Angeles Chargers with Baltimore’s playoff dreams likely on-the-line, the team announced their intentions to retain head coach John Harbaugh. The news broke via the Ravens’ Twitter account.
As referenced in the Tweet, the team is working with Harbaugh towards a contract extension with the 11-year coaches’ deal set to expire after the 2019 season.
On November 11 during the Ravens’ bye week, NFL Insider Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that the Ravens and Harbaugh were very close to ‘mutually agreeing to part ways’ after the 2018 season concluded.
Since Baltimore’s bye, Harbaugh has coached the Ravens, with an entirely different offense led by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, to a 4-1 stretch that has Baltimore (8-6) a half game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) in the AFC North.
Entering Saturday, the Ravens hold the #6 seed in the AFC playoff picture and could rise to first place in the north with a win over the Chargers and a Steelers loss to the Saints (12-2) on Sunday.
2018 was thought to be a crucial season for Harbaugh. The Ravens have not made the playoffs since 2014 and could miss out again depending on what happens over the last two weeks of the regular season. Making this announcement a day before the most important game of the season is peculiar, but it’s sure to make the players happy and take some pressure off the coaching staff. What would have been more peculiar, however, would have been letting Harbaugh go just one season after drafting Jackson.
Just because Harbaugh will remain with the Ravens next season doesn’t mean that change isn’t coming. General Manager Ozzie Newsome will step down after the 2018 season and will be replaced by Eric DeCosta. There’s also the possibility that the Ravens could move on from oft-criticized offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, but again doing so one season into Jackson’s career would raise some eyebrows.
Through almost 11 seasons coaching the Ravens, Harbaugh’s teams have made six playoff appearances, won Super Bowl 47, reached three AFC Championships games, and have played to a 102-72 record (10-5 in the playoffs).
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