Thursday John Harbaugh transcript

John Harbaugh touched on a number of topics, including what he thought of Matt Elam's comments on Calvin Johnson.

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "We appreciate you guys being here. [We had a] really good practice, really good effort, and as we said at the end of our practice, we have much work to be done. So, that's what we are about with our business right now."

What is the status of Brandon Stokley with his concussion?

"We made a roster move. We put Brandon [Stokley] on IR and brought back Bernard [Scott]. That's what we'll be doing."

What does that mean for Brandon Stokley's future in football?

"I don't know. That's a good question. You would have to probably ask him about that. He's been in the league a long time. Brandon [Stokley] has done a great job. His efforts this year for us were great. He did everything he could to get on the field. I'm sure he was disappointed with the injuries and things like that. But, he made some key plays for us. All of his catches were key catches. They were third-down conversion-type plays. We really appreciate him, his attitude, his toughness [and] his work ethic. It was really a pleasure being around him this year and getting to know him and seeing what kind of player he is and what kind of professional he is. It was good for us this year to have him here."

This game has playoff implications, so it is important. But, is it also little more special because it is Monday Night Football?

"Yes, it's unique. Playing on Monday night is something that usually happens maybe once a year if you're fortunate. And it is special. The whole country is watching. A lot of non-football fans are watching. It's something our players get excited about, always have."

How did Dennis Pitta fare coming back last week after his injury?

"No issues with Dennis [Pitta]."

NFL meetings are going on now, and officiating is a big topic of discussion. Do you see officials missing more calls now? It's been talked about a lot. Do you agree with what some people are saying about officiating?

"I don't think so. I think the officiating is improving. I think [vice president of officiating] Dean Blandino has done a heck of a job. The officials have always been conscientious. They always do what they can do to be the best they can be at what they do. What I see this year is more transparency from the league office and from the officiating department in terms of talking about the mistakes. In the past, you never heard about those things. Now, you hear about those things. They step up and own up, and that's appreciated. I remember in the past couple of years everybody would say, ‘Hey, if they would just step up and acknowledge the mistakes, everybody would appreciate that.' They're doing that more than ever this year, and they're getting hammered for it. But to me, that's the first step in improvement. Certainly, the officiating can improve. Every aspect of our game can improve, and the officials would be the first to say that. And they need to continue to improve and be the best they can be, because they are officiating probably the most popular sports league in the world. So, the fact that there is more transparency this year, though, is a good thing. Like I said, I think the league office has done a great job, and the officials continue to be the best in the world at what they do, and they continue to try to get better."

The comment Matt Elam made in an interview calling Calvin Johnson "old' has gotten a lot of attention. What are your thoughts on what he said?

"I didn't read any of the complimentary things that he said in anybody's article. Did any of you guys write about the complimentary things that he said, or was it just the one line that [you] wrote? Anybody want to raise their hand? (laughter) OK, as long as you include it in your article. The only thing I saw was the other part. I think everybody is old to Matt Elam, obviously. (laughter) Matt is pretty young, you know? And hopefully he learns from his opportunity to speak to the media this week."

Does it bother you at all when you see those comments?

"I don't appreciate it. It doesn't help us. You get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up, that's really not the idea. It's Monday Night Football. They've deemed it a playoff game for them, and they're going to be pretty juiced up. I'm sure the crowd is going to be fired up, and the team is going to be fired up, as they should be – as will we. I don't think they needed that to get fired up. But we didn't need to give it to them, either."

Is there a difference for a team who plays at home in an outside venue going up against a team that plays in a dome?

"That's a good question. I don't know. I don't know what the numbers are on that. It's a good question. I'm not sure. We're going to go in there and will do our best."

Are you still optimistic that Elvis Dumervil will be back this week?

"Yes. I've been optimistic. I was optimistic last week about Elvis [Dumervil], too. So, we'll see where we are by the end of the week."

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