On Friday, Browns president Mike Holmgren made the forbidden public reference to defensive end Julius Peppers, who remains under contract to the Panthers.
On Saturday, the coach of the team that used to be the Browns made a forbidden public reference to receiver Terrell Owens, who remains under contract to the Bills.
“We’re interested in T.O.,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, per our own Gregg Rosenthal, who is in Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine. “We’re interested in all the guys who can make us better.”
It’s a public statement of interest, and it’s a violation of the anti-tampering rules. Whether the rule is enforced against the Ravens remains to be seen.
We advise against holding your breath.
Meanwhile, some of you have asked whether Harbaugh’s statement of interest in running back Brian Westbrook potentially violates the same rules. In that case, there’s no violation because the Eagles have given Westbrook permission to talk to other teams. Though he won’t be released until March 5, the Eagles have green-lighted any discussions between other teams and the veteran tailback.
That said, it was prudent for Browns G.M. Tom Heckert to pass on talking about Westbrook. Unless he has received a direct communication from the Eagles granting permission, the safe course is to say nothing.