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Harbaugh backtracks on Patriots comments

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  May 1, 2012 01:53 PM

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John Harbaugh has released a statement regarding his comments in which he said the Patriots' championships were "tainted" by spygate in a radio interview. He says his words were taken out of context.

Here is his full statement:

"While on the 98 Rock show this morning to talk about the run to honor O.J. Brigance and raise funds for ALS research, I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain. My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the league's actions.

"I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. Bill (Belichick) and Sean (Payton) both know that.

"There has been some distortion about what I said.

"The original tweet indicated I pointed the finger at Bill Belichick and mentioned Bill's name. I did not. I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career. I called him to remind him of my respect for him. I also reached out to Tedy Bruschi, who rightfully defended those Patriot players and coaches on ESPN, to tell him that I agree with him that the Patriots earned every victory."

In Harbaugh's original comments on 98 Rock, he said "no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It's been stained. So to me it's never worth it."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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