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Metaphors, Al Pacino and Religious Scripture Will Go With the Ravens to Cleveland This Sunday

Another obstacle to overcome in a challenging season

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Along with the 20-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday came the end of cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s season. It was confirmed that Humphrey would miss the rest of the year by Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh on Monday.

Quickly thereafter, Harbaugh was asked how much of an impact the loss of Humphrey is for the team. Harbaugh, rather than throw his hands up and say, “pack it in for the season,” like innumerable fans have done on social media, he chose to express confidence in his current unit.

“We’d prefer to have [Humphrey] for sure,” Harbaugh said. “But we’ll go on with the guys we’ve got. We’ve got really good players that can step in and play and be ready to go.”

Harbaugh also responded to the idea of not giving into the “woe is me” mentality.

“You don’t [give in],” Harbaugh said. “Maybe it’s experience. Been through this enough.”

Harbaugh’s been through “this” on many occasions, with “this” being adversity at the behest of outside forces.

In 2014, the Ravens had practice-squad callups starting starting against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady in the AFC Divisional Round. In 2015, his franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco, went down with a torn ACL just over halfway through the season, where he joined 14 other Ravens on injured reserve. In 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak put 18 players on the reserve list during the pandemic-stricken year.

And yet, when compared with all the previous seasons, this one may have suffered the most significant string of injuries in Harbaugh’s tenure. Before the season began they lost two young, budding stars in running back’s J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, to go along with All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters. That, someway, somehow, was only the tip of the iceberg this Titanic team had the misfortune of barreling into. It’s just how football goes sometimes.

Harbaugh further answered how he and the team don’t get down on themselves by linking football as a metaphor for life, quoting Al Pacino’s character Tony D’Amato in Any Given Sunday, and paraphrasing religious scripture.

“These are football problems,” Harbaugh said with a shrug. “There’s people that are out there that face a lot tougher challenges. I say a lot of times [that] football is a metaphor for life. It’s our life, but it’s not life. It’s a metaphor for life. Sometimes I think we can take things from it. These games, they run down to the wire. As Al Pacino said it, and I kind of talked about it [on Sunday], an inch here or an inch there, a second too early, a second too late. It is exactly right. That is like a classic truth about football and as a metaphor for life. . . There’s an old story that’s like, ‘Who’s gonna go? Send me.’ I’ll go. Don’t we all have to make that choice in life? You going to go or are you not going to go? Kind of ‘woe is me’ to your question. I’m gonna go, and I know you guys all in your life feel the same way. You’re gonna go.”

And with the Ravens (8-4) set to play the Cleveland Browns (6-6) on Sunday, through their bad stretch of offense and more schematic changes to account for the loss of another starter, Harbaugh’s taken up the gauntlet.

“We’re gonna go, man. We’re gonna go. Can’t wait. We’ll be going to Cleveland, I promise you.”