It is always nice to hear former players longing to return, especially when they made comments upon their exit. In this case, the subject is veteran safety Bernard Pollard and the team is the Baltimore Ravens. Pollard was a key part of the Ravens Super Bowl team in 2012, but when he left he had some choice words about coach John Harbaugh.
Despite Harbaugh's insistence that it was purely a cap move, rumors swirled that Pollard was cut due to a mutiny on the team that season. Either way, Pollard clearly had bad feelings toward someone, likely Harbaugh.
Jamison Hensley of ESPN quoted Pollard at the time from an interview, explaining why he wouldn't be attending the Ravens ring ceremony or the White House:
"I got to sit this one out, man," said Pollard, who has since signed with the Tennessee Titans. "If I didn’t have a vacation, I wouldn’t come in anyway. That's just the type of player I am."
Why is Pollard so against coming back to celebrate?
"At the end of the day, I know what happened, I know what took place," Pollard said. "I’m sorry, I just don’t want to be in the room with certain people."
Pollard said he doesn't have a problem with his teammates. He went out of his way to praise general manager Ozzie Newsome ("Ozzie is amazing," Pollard said). The insinuation is Pollard is upset with John Harbaugh even though he never mentioned the Ravens coach by name.
So returning to Baltimore would be an interesting proposition. When asked recently on Glenn Clark radio about whether he would return, he said:
"[The Ravens] have to make that decision, but for me, this is a place where I had so much fun," Pollard told Glenn Clark Radio. "I was blessed to be able to win a Super Bowl with that organization and great teammates. And I know that that team is not far off. I would be more than willing to return and help. I want another ring. I could play a good three or four years.
"I want another Super Bowl championship and I know Baltimore has all the pieces that can make it happen. I know I could be another piece of the puzzle that can help bring that there."
For a player who said upon his exit he was "offended" by the head coach, a return could be tricky. However, Pollard acknowledged the issue and said he would probably need to have a chat with Harbaugh before he returned:
"Coach and I will talk," Pollard said with an interesting laugh. "It was some things that a lot of people made it bigger than what it was, but obviously him and I will have a conversation. There’s no ill-will for me towards him. I hope there is none from him to me. I wouldn’t come back there to try to rehash anything. I’m not there to try to run anybody. I’m there – I want another Super Bowl ring.
"I say just talk it out as men. If there’s a problem, I’ll tell you. Or if there is a problem, I would want him to tell me. So talk it as two grown men, and then let’s go out there and play football."
I doubt the Ravens come calling despite Elam's injury, with solid depth behind starters Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis in the form of 2014 3rd rounder Terrence Brooks, and undrafted players like Anthony Levine, Brynden Trawick, and Nick Perry. Levine and Trawick are ace special teams players, so they would fill dual roles, unlike Pollard. Pollard also would have to be okay with the reality of being a backup.
It is not the Ravens style, and Pollard is a flawed and aging player. But at the end of the day, it is always nice to be wanted!