Harbaugh introduced as Ravens' new coach

OWINGS MILLS -- Questions and answers with the Baltimore Ravens' new head coach John Harbaugh and the team's search committee:

Owner Steve Bisciotti's opening statement: "Thank you for being here. I want to introduce John Harbaugh, the third coach in Ravens history. We're very excited about it and we hope you are, too. We've worked very hard in the last few weeks and we're very proud to introduce him. I'm very proud of the group I put together to help him get here. Before we get to John, I want to talk about how we got to John and I want to mention some people.

As you all know, it was documented, [assistant director of pro personnel] Vince Newsome, [director of pro personnel] George Kokinis, [director of college scouting] Eric DeCosta, [senior vice president of public and community relations] Kevin Byrne, [general manager Ozzie Newsome], [team president] Dick [Cass] and I put this together – and [vice president of football administration] Pat Moriarty, excuse me.

Getting this to a manageable number was something that I had very, very little input into because it was about coaches and their reputations in the League and their accomplishments. Dick and I relied on that group to put together a list of people that they thought we should consider for a number of reasons.

And, then they went about doing their work and doing background and finding out all they could about these people. They asked for a million opinions, they got some unsolicited calls of support for a lot of these candidates. This was fairly easy for me because I've done this my whole life.

Hiring people is something that I've had a lot of experience doing, and I also had the luxury of a blueprint from what the Modells put together nine years ago in finding Brian Billick, and it made it very easy for us. Ozzie went through that process and he was the lead in this thing. It made it extremely efficient and organized, and we ultimately came down with six candidates that they thought were worthy of putting in front of us.

I have to tell you, I spoke to [Falcons owner] Art Blank and some of the other owners recently and said that the effort that these gentleman put in for me and the credibility they have in the League to get straight answers gave me six candidates that I could have chosen to be the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. I want to thank them all, because without their help this would have been a stab in the dark.

"We have John here. John, as all of you know, comes from a football background, a family of football people and a special teams background, which to some is a disadvantage and to others it's quite an advantage. He's dealing with the entire team, he's dealing with Pro Bowlers, he's dealing with the 53rd man on the roster and making him feel like his contribution is/could be the most important one of the day. And, he's done that very successfully. This is a great day for us.

I talked with Art Modell when we made the decision and I want to reiterate the support that I've always gotten from him, how much it means to us, how much it is part of our history here. And, this is not a 12-year history.

I'm pulling on the history of Baltimore football and I'm pulling from the history of Art Modell since 1961 and the talents of Ozzie and Kevin and Dick and everybody else involved. So, I'm very fortunate to have their support and I am very happy to introduce you to John Harbaugh."

Head coach John Harbaugh opening statement: "Thanks, Steve. I just want to thank Mr. Modell, first of all, for the good advice that he just gave me. Going forward, I have always been a fan of your organization since I was a kid – thanks to my dad and growing up in Ohio. So, thank you for that advice. I want to say thanks to Mr. Bisciotti, to Ozzie Newsome, [and] to Dick Cass for this tremendous opportunity. I'm a football coach, I've been a football coach for a long time and I'm proud to be the football coach of the Baltimore Ravens. This is an opportunity of a career, and it's a dream of ours that we've had for a long time.

And, we can't wait to get started; we can't wait to go to work. So, thank you. These guys right here that Steve was just talking about… You guys put us through a grueling process. I'm so impressed with what you did, the questions you asked – two long days in here – were about as thorough as it could possibly be, about as detailed as it could possibly be, and it made me think. And, I'm sure it was with the other five guys as well. So, it's just a very impressive group. You guys did a great job and I appreciate it.

Thank you very much. My family – my dad, Jack; my mom, Jackie – they're the two best parents anybody could ever have, Steve. My wife, Ingrid, who is the greatest coach's wife you could ever have… Thanks for all the years as my best friend. My little daughter, Alison, is here, too. We couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of the Baltimore community and we're excited to be here. It's a good football town.

[There are] a lot of good people in this town. We can't wait to get going. I just want you to know that I wouldn't be sitting here right now with this chance if it weren't for coach Andy Reid up in Philadelphia. He's been a great friend, he's a great coach, he's been my mentor for nine years now.

Coach Reid, if you're out there watching, I appreciate it and I'm not going to forget all the great lessons that you taught me. And, all the people in Philadelphia, [Eagles owner] Jeffrey Lurie and the kind of organization that he runs… It's like the organization here in Baltimore. I know a first-class organization when I see one because I've seen it for the last 10 years in Philadelphia. So, thanks to Jeffrey and [Eagles president] Joe Banner and all the coaches there – Jim Johnson especially, who is maybe the best defensive coach I've ever seen.

And, for all the things you've done for me, Jim, I appreciate that, too. A special shout out here to the Philadelphia [media members]. I see the Philadelphia beat writers sitting over here. I appreciate you guys coming down. Man, it's good to see you. So, that's what I got."

What is your vision for the Ravens and are you bothered that you were offered the position after Jason Garrett?

(HARBAUGH) "First of all, as far being perceived as a second choice or a first choice, that's irrelevant to me. I never thought about it in those terms, never would. It doesn't matter. It's an opportunity to go forward. I know they looked at six great coaches here, any one of whom could have done a great job as head football coach, and I feel fortunate to be the guy who's going to get the shot.

As far as this football team, when you grow up as a coach's kid and your dad coaches for Bo Schembechler and you come up through the years [with that], you can't have a better job. I mean, Rich Leach stuffed me in a locker one time and Donny Dufek taped me to a goal post, Steve. So, who's got it better than that? We thought you didn't have a childhood if you didn't grow up like that.

But, when you grow up in that environment, part of your life values, the thing you learn is that there are three important things [to] putting together a football team – three important things: No. 1, the team; No. 2, the second most important thing, is the team; and the third most important thing is the team. We'll stick with that through and through, beginning to end. That's what it's all about."

What do you want to tell the people of Baltimore about your ability to be a good head coach?

(HARBAUGH) "There are a lot of ways to prepare to be anything. There are a lot of ways to prepare to be a head coach. I'm proud of the path I took. I don't think you control your path. I think you start working for a guy and a coach puts you in a position and says, ‘I need you to coach this,' and you coach it. Then, the next year he says, ‘I need you to coach that,' and you coach that.

And, if it's special teams, you coach that. You just do the best job you can and do what you have to do and you work as hard as you can and that prepares you. And, that path is laid out for you a little bit and you don't try to determine what path it's going to be. So, hey, you work with guys, you have fun out there on the football field, you pay attention to detail, you do the best job you can every day and then good things happen. And, that's what we're going to be all about."

What will you say when you first address the players and how will you establish your tone as a leader?

(HARBAUGH) "We've got a book, in the Andy Reid tradition, we've got a book about this thick and there are a number of meetings that are all laid out in there. I'm sure we'll take a look at that meeting outline and figure out what we're going to say. I think, more than anything, before we get to that point, we're going to have a chance to talk to these players individually.

There are a lot of guys in town working out here right now. I saw some of the guys through the interview process in the weight room and in the training room doing those things to get ready for next year. So, we'll get a chance to talk to those guys one-on-one in town. We'll get a chance to get on the phone with guys as soon as we can.

If we have to go see some guys, we'll do it. We'll start building those relationships, communicating with those players and start just getting ideas. [We'll] find out what they believe, see where they see the thing going, let them know who we are, what we're about. And then, when it comes time for that first meeting, we'll know what to say."

What did the search committee ask that surprised you and what was the toughest question?

(HARBAUGH) "I'm not giving away any secrets. There were lots of surprises. You try to prepare a little bit. We were coming off our season and you're doing the things you do to do your job in Philadelphia, or wherever you are. I think you hope that 24 years, or however long you've been coaching, prepares you for that opportunity.

But, people give you advice and they give you these lists of questions, and I'd say about, maybe, 10 percent of those questions that I had were the ones they asked. I'd say, Steve, you had the toughest questions, truthfully. That's what made it challenging; that's what made it fun. Those two interviews went by like that. One was five hours and the other was 7½ hours, and you looked around and it was like, ‘Wow, we've got more to talk about.' So, that's how it went."

How do you feel about Rex Ryan possibly returning to the Ravens as defensive coordinator?

(HARBAUGH) "First of all with the staff, there are a lot of good football coaches inside this building right now, and there are a lot of really good football coaches outside this building who want to coach for the Baltimore Ravens. This is a great organization and this is a good football team in place right now today. People want to be here. We're going to take our time. We're going to talk to all those guys.

We're going to see what the best fit is for our players, what the best fit is with one another, try to build strengths to other people's weaknesses and build a real chemistry on our staff. I don't think we're in a hurry to do that. As far as Rex, I've known Rex since 1987. Rex was coaching defense at Eastern Kentucky, and I was coaching defense at Morehead State. The only reason they beat us was because their players were better.

Rex was a great coach back then. You could see it from Day One that he was going to be a great coach. Then we had a chance to work together at the University of Cincinnati in 1996. He was the defensive coordinator and he was running the same stuff he's running now, and I guarantee you people in our league couldn't defend against it either. We're going to get a chance to talk to him. He's a great coach, a good person. I know he's got some opportunities out there right now, too. I can't wait to see where Rex is going to go."

Can you identify the nervousness you feel about being a head coach for the first time in the NFL?

(HARBAUGH) "I don't think it can be any worse than standing there on the sideline of the Super Bowl for the opening kickoff and watching your guys run down the field and all those blinking lights go off, wondering what's going to happen for the next 60 minutes. That's a good preparation.

We've been fortunate enough to be in those situations before. Now, when the time comes and you're standing there as a head coach for the first time, we'll see what that's like. You're not going to know until you get there, but it's been a pretty good preparation, I think, the last 10 years."

Was there a defining moment in the interview process that made you know John Harbaugh was the next coach of the Ravens?

(BISCIOTTI) "No, because like I said, these guys delivered me six people that could be my head coach. We were looking for a combination of qualities that are intelligence, character and a reputation. In order to get a reputation to end up in that final six, in order to garner the kind of positive thoughts people communicated to us… You've spent 25 years doing a million little things right or you don't get the kind of endorsements that we got out of these six candidates.

So, I was never nervous. I was always calm because I was always in front of guys of great integrity that were being delivered to me from my football guys, saying, ‘These are good football coaches.' I was looking for the right kind of guy. I was looking for a leader that I could look at and say I can see him standing up there in front of my team. So, no, there's no defining moment when you're lucky enough to be handed six candidates that were as highly regarded as these guys were that came into our building in the last 10 days."

What did your brother, former Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh, tell you about Baltimore?

(HARBAUGH) "Jim had a great experience in Baltimore. He was with coach [Ted] Marchibroda. He came over with coach from Indianapolis. I talked to Jim last night and he is on a recruiting mission in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I don't know if were allowed to say that per NCAA rules, exactly, but he was fired up. He was in the car and he was screaming and excited.

It's pretty neat. I've got a brother-in-law by the name of Tom Crean and he's married to my sister Joani. He's the head basketball coach at Marquette. We have a lot of great talk around the holiday dinner table whenever we can get together. It's a great coaching family. They're good people and they're all fired up."

What do you draw from your family experience of coaching about being a head coach?

(HARBAUGH) "I think the thing that they all agree with and that we've learned from the beginning is that it's really about core football beliefs, certain fundamental values that hold true, that every single player on this football team knows what they are and they believe in them.

They know what's right. They understand how to be successful in this game because they've gotten so far. You don't get to this level and compete at this level unless you understand what it takes to be a good football player and a good football team, and those things hold true. I think that's the kind of coach I am – core fundamental values, good solid football coach, play hard, do the right thing, take care of one another and good things work out. And, if you stand on those things you're going to be OK as a coach."

Can you talk about the situation with Rex Ryan and the Ravens players campaigning for him? Did that hurt his chances at all?

(BISCIOTTI) "No, of course it didn't hurt him. It would be ridiculous to think that they wouldn't campaign for him. Rex has been around interviewing for other jobs, too. He's getting the same kind of accolades that the rest of the candidates are getting out there.

It certainly didn't hurt him; it was our job to make sure it didn't help him. He was in a unique situation, and I trusted the instincts of my committee and that we made the best decision that we thought we needed to go forward. I think very highly of Rex. I talked to Arthur Blank about Rex a half hour ago, and if Rex doesn't get the Atlanta job – I hope he does – then I hope he stays here."

What did you learn in Philadelphia about the balance of coaching and personal life with Andy Reid's situation?

(HARBAUGH) "That's always a struggle. I might get a chance to talk to my dad about that afterwards. He's probably got better answers than I do. I've got a 6-year-old. I saw coach Reid handle a tough situation like a rock.

He didn't let the personal stuff spill over into the football side, and I know he spent a lot of time on the personal side and continues to do that and loves his family and is a wonderful father, just like Tammy [Reid] is a great mother and a great wife. So, I don't know if anybody has that answer. You fight every day to do the best you can."

What did you learn from seeing Reid come to Philadelphia and become a head coach?

(HARBAUGH) "And [former Eagles head coach] Ray Rhodes, boy, I really enjoyed that year with Ray Rhodes. What a good man and a good coach, giving me, a young guy, an opportunity to coach in the NFL. But Andy Reid wasn't a coordinator in the NFL.

He was a quarterback coach. I think that Jeffrey Lurie looked at coach Reid and saw the qualities that he was looking for in a Hall of Fame-caliber coach someday. And Andy is on track to achieve that. Hopefully, we have a little part of that along the way, and we can brag about that someday. But, I think that's what you do. You stand on those values, those principles.

We've got plenty of schedules, plenty of organizational ideas, all those little things that go into coaching, but you watch the process. But Andy's whole deal is: You establish a plan, you stick with the plan, you're relentlessly persistent in pursuing the plan and you see what happens in the end."

What was that phone call like when you told your father that you were a head coach in the NFL?

(HARBAUGH) "Well, I tried to kind of slow play him a little bit, to see if he would bite on me, but he didn't, he didn't. He was onto me. It was thrilling. There was a lot of screaming going on on the other side of the line. It was one of those moments in life."

What is it about coaching special teams on the professional level that prepares you to deal with an entire roster of players?

(HARBAUGH) "Well, that's a great question, and we've had a lot of talks about that. It was great coaching the secondary this year, too. I think every position has its own unique situations that it brings to the table. But the thing about special teams that a lot of people don't realize is you are handling the entire team every single day.

You're dealing with offensive linemen, you're dealing with the defensive backs, the wide receivers – they're all a little bit different. You get a chance to coach them every single day. You touch them in football, and then you kind of mold your team. You also get a chance to work with the young guys. That's where you develop the young part of your football team, and that's thrilling as a coach because you build a foundation for your football team with those young guys. I think that's probably the greatest part of coaching special teams. It's the most fun part."

Do you have some early thoughts about what you would like to do with the offense here?

(HARBAUGH) "Well, we've got time, and I think the process begins today, and I'm looking forward to digging in. The first thing we need to do is hire a great staff, and I know I'm going to have tremendous help [from] the people in this building, starting with Mr. Ozzie Newsome right here.

We're going to put together a great football staff. We're going to get a great offensive coordinator, a guy that's been there before and knows how to develop an offensive group. But I can say this about our offense: We're going to be tough, we're going to be physical, we're going to be disciplined and we're going to play really hard. And if we do those things, we'll be just fine."

Ozzie, how did John Harbaugh come on your radar, when did he come on your radar, and what jumped out to you about him?

(NEWSOME) "Well, first of all, in that this was my second turn to get to the plate in finding a head coach, I don't think you eliminate any coach. Also, I think I found out along the way that there's nothing magic about finding someone to be the head coach. It's one of the toughest jobs in America, because you get evaluated every Sunday, and a lot of things that happen are sometimes not in your control.

But as we started the process… We get a chance every day – I get a chance every day – to talk to people around the league about who are good coaches. So, that helps to develop a list, and John was somebody that several people that I admire and I respect in the business said, ‘He's someone that you should interview.' And then when you start to talk to Andy Reid, Brad Childress, Ray Rhodes, and even a Brian Dawkins that I talked to yesterday, when they start to paint a picture that says that yeah, this guy is a legitimate candidate, and then you bring him in and you put him through the process as we did and he's still standing tall at the end of the day, that's the reason why he's here as our head coach."

You said on Dec. 31 that you're looking for the next Hall of Fame coach. How much did that thought process steer you towards John Harbaugh or away from Marty Schottenheimer?

(BISCIOTTI) "You know, it didn't have that much. If I had hired Marty Schottenheimer, he'd probably still be wanting to coach like Joe Paterno. He's only 64; I think Paterno is 80. I don't think that Schottenheimer was a three-year coach like it was being reported.

There were some pros and cons to the candidates, and I don't want to say I eliminated Marty, because these guys have experience with Marty and they kind of knew what we were getting. Do I like a guy that has to earn his resume? Yeah, I've kind of made a living on hiring people with thin resumes and it's worked out pretty well for me in the last 25 years. I think that works to John's advantage.

I can just imagine a guy like Marty winning 13 games and losing a playoff game and you'd say, ‘Well, that's the book on Marty.' So, I'd be lying if I said that didn't come into play; it kind of does. I said to you three weeks ago that you have to take chances in life to be successful.

You have to be willing to do things that the masses wouldn't do, or I don't think that you're ever going to separate yourself from the masses. Is it a little bit more of a perceived chance? Yeah, if you didn't spend the last 15 hours with John Harbaugh.

But the time we spent with him gave me a comfort level that we've hired the right guy. So, a lot of things went into a lot of candidates, but the bottom line is I feel good about our choice and I like the fact that John gets to build his legend right here."

(NEWSOME) "I spoke with Marty and Marty told me that as long as his son, Brian Schottenheimer, was a candidate – which he was up until yesterday – that he did not want to be a candidate for our job."

What was Art Modell's advice to you, and what was the best piece of advice you received throughout this process?

(HARBAUGH) "Well I think I can say this: The advice that Steve did not give me was to under-promise and over-deliver (laughing). Mr. Modell said to bring good people in. You said that's the No. 1 thing. You've been doing it since 1961. You've put good people around you. That pays off and I will not forget that."

Can you talk about the caliber of talent you have here in Baltimore?

(HARBAUGH) "Well I think that starting with Ozzie and the personnel group here, and we've talked about this a lot in the last two interview sessions, they've done a great job in putting together a strong football team [full of] the type of player that you like. When you play the Ravens, you look across and you see these guys play, you see qualities that you admire. They're tough, they run to the football, they will hit you, they play very hard.

Guys that like football, that's a good place to start. Now as far as the plusses and minuses of each single guy, we're going to spend a lot of time looking at that. And I know one thing: What we're going to try to do is we're going to play to those guys strengths. Whatever our guys do well, we're going to look for what they do well and we're going to put them in a position to do those things well. That's what smart football coaches do. That's where we start."

Andy Reid always believed that offensive and defensive lines were what made a team. Do you believe in that philosophy?

(HARBAUGH) "Absolutely. You win in the trenches. I've heard that enough over the years from Andy and before. You win in the trenches. It will always be that way. It will never change."

How important is discipline, and how do you establish it as a coach?

(HARBAUGH) "I think discipline is misunderstood sometimes. When you're talking about discipline in football, you're talking about guys making good choices in critical moments, maintaining themselves, being poised when they've got to be poised, doing the right thing. We've got smart guys on this football team, guys that are going to understand that. I think there's a plan in place for getting your team to that point. That's part of the process that starts tomorrow."

You've talked about going with your gut. Did instincts play a role in this decision? (BISCIOTTI)

"Sure, they always do. My experiences in life – the kind of people that I've admired – everything you do, every person that you associate with comes to you with the comfort level that you've been there before, you've seen it before. The qualities that John exhibited in the interview process said, ‘This is the guy.

I'm comfortable with him.' Like I said earlier, there is no one way to do this, and there is no guarantee when you pick somebody. So you go with your instincts, and I think I have pretty good instincts. I'm here like Art [Modell] was here. Art spent 40 years with good instincts, and I'm sitting here around people that have been together for 20 and 30 years.

It's a culmination of all my experiences and all the people I've interacted with and all the people that I have brought into my organization I've watched grow, I've watched stumble, I've watched fail and I've watched succeed. You don't know what you've got until you give them the chance, and he gave us the belief, the confidence that we should give him a chance. That's a gut feeling, yes it is."

When you were in Philadelphia, I'm sure you were somewhat aware of the quarterback carousel that has gone on in Baltimore. How do you plan to remedy that?

(HARBAUGH) "When you're coaching in this league, you kind of tend to focus on your own problems more than you do other people's problems, and we had a few of those we had to deal with. It does start with the quarterback in the NFL.

We had a good quarterback up in Philadelphia. They do. That's been a big part of the success up there. Whether it's someone on the roster that can be developed, or it's someone that we can go out and get, I know that we're shoulder-deep in that evaluation already, before I even get here. I'm ready to jump in and get going, get going to work on that."

How will John be involved in the shaping of this roster, and what is the plan for the offseason?

(NEWSOME) "First of all, the first thing that we will embark on is helping John to get a staff. That's the most important thing for us at this point, to put all our energy with him to make sure we get a very good staff that's going to come in and coach the players that we have. Secondly, once the staff is in place, they will have the opportunity to evaluate the football team.

When that evaluation takes place, we will sit down as a group and talk about it. It will be a great interchange between some of the guys that are here, and some of the guys that are working in other organizations, for us to sit down and talk about the players that we have on this team. We're already knee-deep in draft preparation. I'm leaving here today to go to the Senior Bowl, and the rest of the staff will be heading down to join me. I spent a day at the East-West [Shrine Game] last week. We had other people there; we've had people at the Hula Bowl. So, the business of acquiring talent, making sure the right talent is on this football team, has already begun.

Right now, we have some new eyes. Art used to talk about a new set of eyes all the time, and we have a new set of eyes with John Harbaugh and the other people that he's going to bring in. I think that's going to make us better as we put together this team. But, as I spoke to John this morning, we don't have to play until September, so we've got time. We've got time for him to pick his staff and then to select the best 53 players to be on this squad. We've got time. We don't have to play until September."

Have you had a chance to talk to any of the players yet?

(HARBAUGH) "I have not had a chance to yet. I had the chance to talk to some potential coaches and a chance to talk to my family. [I've] talked to coach Reid. I'm looking forward to doing that right away. That's going to be ‘priority A,' and we'll get the phone numbers here and go to work on that. [I] can't wait to do it."

After your first interview on Jan. 8, did you start to assemble a potential staff in your mind? (HARBAUGH)

"I think that's something you do all the time as a coach. You probably do it as a [general manager], too. You're always putting guys together, and you're always talking to guys: ‘Boy, he would be good in this spot, and he would be good in that spot.' But it wasn't until Ozzie had called Sunday morning – we were coming back from my brother's wedding out in California – that I had to put a list together. So, I put it together on Monday and came back down on Tuesday."

Does John have the autonomy to hire whomever he wants staffing-wise? Is this his staff to put together? (BISCIOTTI)

"Coaching staff? Sure. Absolutely."

You mentioned Ray Rhodes and the impact he had on you. What did you take away from Ray that helped you get here? (HARBAUGH)

"Ray is a solid, fundamental football coach. He's kind of an old school guy. He cares about toughness. He cares about his players tremendously, has great relationships with his players.

I think if there's one thing I'd like to say, I probably would take this from Ray Rhodes: Those guys I've had a chance to coach over the years, in Philadelphia right now, the [Brian] Dawkins, the Quentin Mikells, the Ike Reeses, the Mike Caldwells over the years and so many more – that's what makes you as a coach.

That's why you coach. You can't wait to get to work every day and be with those guys and be about football. And that's what Ray Rhodes is all about."

How would you characterize your playing career? (HARBAUGH)

"My dad always says, ‘the twilight of a mediocre career.' That probably about sums it up. I was a good, tough, hard-nosed defensive back at Miami of Ohio, worked really hard. I got one letter my senior year. [I'm] proud of that, too, I guarantee you. I'm going to wear that jacket in tomorrow for you (laughing)."

A lot has been made over the last few weeks about an erosion in team discipline. Did you feel that perception was valid? (BISCIOTTI)

"I didn't get that overall sense that we lacked discipline. I think that you have a tendency to lose focus when you're losing. It tends to perpetuate bad habits, so, no. I watched these guys come out here everyday and do their work, interact with them on the field and in the cafeteria.

No, I don't think that's that big of an issue, and I hope John doesn't come and say that he thinks it is come September. I think that these guys are ready for a change, and I think they're going to be enthusiastic about it. I think that they're going to be dedicated to John's vision. I think John's a good communicator of his vision, and that's why he's here.

"Everybody knows that Ray Lewis is the player and the leader that he is. Everything you know about Ray is true. He's truly one of the greatest leaders that I've ever been around in my life. It's genuine, it's constant, it's so deep-rooted, that he can't possibly be anything but a great influence for the other players. People say, ‘This is Ray's team. It should be, it shouldn't be, whatever.' Leaders rise to the top, and Ray has since the time he was a young man.

When you look at people thinking [John] may be too young, he's 45, and Ray's 32, and we've been giving [Lewis] his due as a leader. I think that when John gets the opportunity to sit down with Ray, he's going to thank his lucky stars that he has him. I don't think that anybody that works with Ray is going to give any less of their commitment and attention to John than Ray is. I don't know where Ray is right now.

He may be in Jamaica, but I guarantee you that the minute he hears this, he's going to start thinking, ‘How can I help this coach be a great coach?' And that's a nice place to start out on this team."

With all the contacts you have around the League, what did you hear about John that intrigued you? (CASS)

"Actually, most of the calls made around the league were made by our football guys because they wanted to talk to coaches, scouts, players and former players. So I really made very few calls. What we heard about John was what you've heard here today and what you can see today, that he has great passion for the game, he's a very effective communicator, a great coach and the players like to play for him. All the great things you've heard about him today, we heard in the phone calls."


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