First, I want to thank Bernard Pollard for taking the time to speak with us. Logan and I enjoyed the candid discussion from Pollard.
Second, what I’m saying is pure speculation. I’m speculating on what I’ve read from various articles pertaining to the ‘mutiny’, and what Bernard Pollard has said on Twitter, and in the interview. What I say isn’t fact, but what I’m doing is putting together a puzzle that doesn’t have all the pieces.
Finally, I don’t want Pollard articles plastered across BB for weeks on end, and this will be my last article on the subject barring new information.
First: ‘The mutiny’
Bernard would not say what John Harbaugh said that players disagreed with. Media reports say it was over full-padded practices, but Pollard denies that was the case. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t say what it was over.
At 18:10 of the interview:
“Bernard Pollard: It was due to something that the head coach [John Harbaugh] had said a week ago—
Kyle Barber: What the media says—or what the other articles that I’ve read about, was after the loss to Houston, it was going to be full-padded practices and that’s where the discrepancy began.
BP: No. That wasn’t— The media has no idea what they’re talking about.
KB: Well, what was it about?
BP: I’m not going to go into detail. But it was something that Harbaugh had said, and lied about, and we called him out on it. He didn’t like the fact that we called him out on something that he said, and so other things spilled over, because he opened up the floor for everyone to say something. So as for me, if I’m the head coach, if I don’t want to hear the truth, I don’t want to hear how you feel, I’m not going to ask you. But when you open the floor to a group of grown men, to try to see what’s going on, you’re going to get a response. . .
BP: At the end of the day, when we had had that meeting, we had talked, I promise you we all walked out and we said we were going to win a Super Bowl. I guarantee you we all made that promise and that pact together and we won a Super Bowl.”
It may be true, that it wasn’t about the full-padded practices, but rather something Harbaugh had said, but we don’t know since Pollard wouldn’t go into detail. I believe the open forum wasn’t a ‘mutiny’, but rather players being upset, spilling over, and finally everybody voicing their opinion. There was heated words, I presume, and players were upset, and even coaches could have been frustrated, but I don’t think it was a mutiny. I believe it wasn’t a mutiny because I believe Bernard when he said they came together after the meeting and worked together. It may be coincidence, it may not be, but the team went on a four game win streak after the whooping from the Texans. They beat the Browns on the road, absolutely stomped the Raiders 55-20 at M&T, and then beat the Steelers and Chargers in close games.
I don’t see a team sitting at 5-2 before their Week 8 bye as a mutiny squad. They may have had frustrations, but I don’t speculate it was a mutiny. The team came together as grown men and spoke to each other, frustrations or not.
Second, the Beef
John Harbaugh and Bernard Pollard did not get along. Fans have known this for awhile, and it’s only exacerbated in the interview.
4:35 of the interview
“Bernard Pollard: When head coaches win a Super Bowl, they unlock a power, they unlock authority, and that’s what happened in the situation. I tell a lot of people, when everybody says, ‘You were cut.’ Well yeah, I re-negotiated my deal after my first year, a three-year extension, actually. When you re-negotiate a three-year extension, I re-negotiated that with [Ravens General Manager] Ozzie [Newsome]. Harbaugh didn’t want me on the team the first year I was there. He didn’t want me that much, that he wouldn’t even start me when I got there, when I should have been starting. After that, Ozzie made him start me. So one of the many things that people got to understand is, that’s power that he didn’t have. Now, all of a sudden you win a Super Bowl, now you get to hand pick your player and tell who you want on the team, who you don’t want on the team.”
Addressing a few things here:
1. Unlocking a power to have more authority and control on the roster sounds true. A coach winning a Super Bowl should grant most teams more control on the total roster. This makes sense, but it cannot be definitively proven without Ozzie, Bisciotti or Harbaugh himself saying so.
2. Pollard originally had a two-year deal with the team, starting on August 2011. He did re-negotiate his deal in May of 2012, signing a four-year deal, worth $10.25 million.
3. The Ravens were starting Tom Zbikowski over Pollard at the beginning of the 2011 season. Pollard started 13 games, Zbikowski started in four games. It cannot be proven that Ozzie forced Harbaugh to start him, though. It makes sense, and the story lines up, but that’s not definitive enough to say Harbaugh didn’t want Pollard starting, or that Ozzie forced Harbaugh to start Pollard. Zbikowski was in the incumbent.
Pollard and Harbaugh had beef. They disliked one another, and their frustrations are noted. I think it’s possible Harbaugh wanted him off the team due to their clashing personalities, but this is speculation. They also saved money cutting Bernard, and Ihedigbo was a reasonable replacement for less money.