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Ravens' Harbaugh implies Pats' titles 'stained'

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  May 1, 2012 11:05 AM

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So here's one we didn't see coming this Tuesday morning:

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, during an appearance on 98Rock in Baltimore, the team's flagship radio station, was asked about the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.

The host's question was a bit long, but he brought up cheating and playing dirty, and that Harbaugh, his brother Jim (head coach of the 49ers) and their father Jack (a former college coach) are "old-school football guys" who believe in "hit hard, hit right." But isn't there a part of Harbaugh that thinks "if a guy can get away with it..." they should go for it in pursuit of wins?

Here is the full text of Harbaugh's answer:

"The funny thing about that is, is that in the end everything is brought before the light of day when it's all said and done. [Host: the truth always rises] It does! So what happens is, even the thing in New England and the thing ... 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.

"I mean, yeah, you gotta figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage, you gotta figure out ways to make the most of everything, we've got new work rules here as far as what we can do and what we can't do with our players, we're going to make the most of it and what we're finding is, man, in a way we can do things even better than we did before because these rules make us focus more on things we didn't focus on before, and you've got to make them work for you. That's what success is in the world - you've got to find a way to do things better than somebody else. But in the end, if you're cheating, you're going to get discredited. It's just not worth it."

Here's why Harbaugh's words are even more surprising: He has acknowledged in the past that Bill Belichick recommended him to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti when they were looking for a head coach.

As we all know, Belichick has a long memory for such things, particularly when it comes from people he considers friends, even in a professional sense.

After the finish to January's AFC Championship game between the Ravens and Patriots you knew Sept. 23's regular-season game in Baltimore would be an exciting one, but now it may take on a new significance.

The full interview is here. Harbaugh's comment comes around the 3:10 mark.

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

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