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Harbaugh’s open letter to Ravens contains good advice for all players

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In the aftermath of a motorbike crash that has critically injured Ravens cornerback Tray Walker, coach John Harbaugh has written a letter to his entire team regarding the decisions that young men are confronted with on a regular basis.

The message is strong enough to be shared with all NFL players, most of whom are still relatively young and many of whom may be inclined (like most men under the age of 25) to not fully appreciate the connection between choices and potential consequences.

The full text of the letter appears below.

An Open Letter to Our Team

Men,

Right now, this moment is an incredibly difficult time for our Team and our Family. One of our Brothers, Tray Walker, is fighting for his life. I know we are showering him, and covering he and his family, with Prayer and hope. 

That was the kind of phone call you never want get as a coach, as a parent, as a brother, as a friend. This shook me and all of us. Like some of you, I haven’t been able to rest since hearing the news late last night.

As I focused about Tray this morning, some thoughts came to mind that I wanted to share. What would I say to my own son, if I had a son, in a situation like this? You guys are that important to me.

This is what I would be saying to you in the team meeting room if we were together today: There is a lot going on out there and you are going to be involved in tough and difficult situations. You are making and will continue to make important choices pretty much every day. That’s okay.  That’s our reality. It can even be very good to be put in different circumstances. To make it right, you are going to have to grow up fast. Probably faster than many of your friends and family. 

Please remember to…

Lead in your home. Take care of Your Family and Yourself every single day. Think about who you are and where you are going, and what you stand for. Look after one another. Only then can you be your most effective on the job and in every area of your life.

Please consider your actions and choices. There are always consequences. Choose who you allow to advise you. Consider the quality of the council you take. Put yourself in positions to succeed. Turn away from unnecessary and risky behavior. Take care of your physical well-being. Live a healthy lifestyle. Pursue those things that make you better. Rest well. Eat well. Laugh with those who you love and love you. Fulfill your obligations effectively. 

Be your own best friend. Do not be an enemy onto yourself. Turn away from trouble and harm. Walk away from foolish behavior. Ignore silly and unwise advice – You’ll know it when you see it. 

Get to know those people in your life who manage to walk free from the weight of self-created obstacles. Get close to those who have gone where you want to go, and have accomplished what you want to accomplish. Grow Spiritually. Think about what and who you want to become. 

I am asking you to consider what is at stake in your life. Consider what your thoughts, actions and choices mean to those around you. Live your life fully and with purpose. Have fun and share your happiness. Find Your Faith, and allow God to Grow Your Faith.

Let’s look out for one another. Be a great brother and friend. Inquire. Listen. Ask. Investigate. Reach out. Be There. Take a Step. Go For It. 

Remember, We are Brothers in Arms. And, again, take care of each other.

John

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51 Responses to “Harbaugh’s open letter to Ravens contains good advice for all players”
  1. jpgjaxon says: Mar 18, 2016 4:08 PM

    Nicely done

  2. steamingpilerex says: Mar 18, 2016 4:12 PM

    Very Nice John

  3. freedomofspeechyesway says: Mar 18, 2016 4:15 PM

    Class.

  4. skinsdiehard says: Mar 18, 2016 4:16 PM

    Well said. Did the player make a bad decision that led to this crash? Have not read or heard the details.

  5. iammrbinky says: Mar 18, 2016 4:16 PM

    Well done. Prayers to that young man and his loved ones.

  6. taosravenfan says: Mar 18, 2016 4:20 PM

    Classy. This is the Harbaugh we know in Baltimore that gets lost in the silliness of competition in the NFL.

  7. tylawspick6 says: Mar 18, 2016 4:20 PM

    What an unbelievable fraud. I cannot stand the Harbaughs, especially this jack hole.

    He spends an entire game up and down the sidelines, constantly in the refs ear, is constantly changing rules to help his team cheat, with Ozzie on the Comp. Committee, too.

    And, we know it was he who came up with the Deflatgate witch hunt sting with old friend Pagano, who kicked the idea up to Grigson/Irsay.

    Grigson then worked in conjunction with Troy Vincent, which Goodell HAD to have known about prior to the AFC Title game, even if he lied about knowing anything about it.

    It’s all a bit too coincidental for anyone who has a college degree.

    Once Brady said “check the rule book” after Harbaugh whined like a politically correct baby because his defense is too stupid to pick up on who is eligible and who isn’t, I knew once Deflategate unfolded, and know with all the lies known, we can see who started it.

    JOHN HARBAUGH

    Get ALL of them on a federal stand and bury these criminals.

  8. regiorr says: Mar 18, 2016 4:20 PM

    I could not agree more with Coach. This should not be an open letter just to the Ravens. It should be an open letter to all the players in the league. I would only change one word from the letter… just one: “Men”. I would change it to “kids”, “children” or something like that. After seeing all the troubles that many players have to keep themselves alive, to be in the right side of the law, to avoid being jerks, I would question if they are mature enough to be called “men”. A rookie earns more than 4 grand for playing in the NFL. That is a lot more than the average person is going to see in years of hard work. Can’t the players value that? Can’t they recognize that they have a privilege that less than 2,000 people have?

  9. tylawspick6 says: Mar 18, 2016 4:22 PM

    What a drama queen, too. Why publish this? Just send it privately.

    This is like broadcasting your own charity work or visits to local hospitals in the community.

    What an absolute phony he is.

    John Harbaugh’s favorite person is John Harbaugh.

    Oh, yes it is.

  10. jdphx says: Mar 18, 2016 4:22 PM

    That was just awesome…. Respect, Coach Harbaugh.

  11. cheatustobeatus says: Mar 18, 2016 4:25 PM

    Well said, Coach. Great words!

  12. ravenbiker says: Mar 18, 2016 4:26 PM

    skinsdiehard says:
    Mar 18, 2016 4:16 PM

    Well said. Did the player make a bad decision that led to this crash? Have not read or heard the details.

    —————————————————-
    I would call it that. He was wearing dark clothes riding a headlight-less dirt bike on the street at night (which I know in MD is illegal) without a helmet. Almost makes him a candidate for the Darwin Awards if he doesn’t make it, but I hope he makes it through AND I hope he learns from it. His buddy from the Patriots that skedaddled is most likely at least facing ‘leaving the scene of an accident” charges.

  13. vikingforlife says: Mar 18, 2016 4:26 PM

    I’ve always appreciated and liked John Harbaugh. I know this is a very difficult time for everyone involved and I hope his words and advice help the members of the Ravens and their families through this very difficult time.

  14. maddbearfan says: Mar 18, 2016 4:27 PM

    He should have added: THINK before you do something stupid!!!

  15. steelerben says: Mar 18, 2016 4:27 PM

    A class gesture by Harbaugh in an obviously difficult time. Moving words, to say the least.

  16. zookrew says: Mar 18, 2016 4:27 PM

    Well-stated. I have a new-found respect for his leadership; it goes beyond the field and the game.
    I would hope all players with all teams would take this advise to heart.

  17. simplegodfather says: Mar 18, 2016 4:27 PM

    wow, really nice heartwarming letter to all his players..

    He gain my respect even more now…

  18. hgamatt says: Mar 18, 2016 4:29 PM

    And now I have tears in my eyes at the end of the work week. And I’ll either have to confess to my boss that I’m on PFT rather than working on his report, or tell him how much this work really moves me.

    All of that aside, wow. That is a moving letter.

  19. hakunamangata says: Mar 18, 2016 4:30 PM

    Well said. Did the player make a bad decision that led to this crash? Have not read or heard the details.

    Yes and no. He was struck at a 4 way intersection after an SUV ran a stop sign at around 7:50 last night.

    However he didn’t have a light on his bike, and was wearing dark clothing so it could of simply been the driver didn’t see him. It’s worth noting that the driver did stay with him after he was struck and stayed until help arrived.

    In any case it’s tragic and is terrible for anyone to go through.

  20. Irsay's Bong says: Mar 18, 2016 4:31 PM

    skinsdiehard says:
    Mar 18, 2016 4:16 PM
    Well said. Did the player make a bad decision that led to this crash? Have not read or heard the details.

    Dirt bike at night with no headlight on a paved road, and no helmet.

    That being said, I hope the kid recovers, but based on the way the team and Harbaugh are reacting it’s not promising.

  21. bills1oftheseyrs says: Mar 18, 2016 4:37 PM

    If I was hiring a head coach it would be John before Jim!

  22. bleedingfacemask says: Mar 18, 2016 4:39 PM

    “The message is strong enough to be shared with all NFL players…”

    And the rest of society, too.

  23. peytonwantsaflag says: Mar 18, 2016 4:46 PM

    Beautiful advice – I’ve already shared it with my boys.

    and btw – tylawspick6 – you’d be the one to walk away from.

  24. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 18, 2016 4:50 PM

    Wise words well-received.

  25. nflofficeadmin says: Mar 18, 2016 4:56 PM

    Hats off to whoever is doing John’s botox. His skins looks young and taught.

  26. charger383 says: Mar 18, 2016 5:01 PM

    good advise anytime, needs to be repeated often

  27. jonathankrobinson424 says: Mar 18, 2016 5:03 PM

    ……when your older you know how true his words mean……when your young ,you think your invencible and don’t think you need to take those messages to heart. If only one person is moved, reflects or inspired by his letter….the coach did his job. Lets hope Tray makes a full recovery so he can live a full life.

  28. ayyyjayyy says: Mar 18, 2016 5:03 PM

    tylawspick6 says:
    Mar 18, 2016 4:22 PM

    What a drama queen, too. Why publish this? Just send it privately.

    This is like broadcasting your own charity work or visits to local hospitals in the community.

    What an absolute phony he is.

    ——–

    Uh-oh, someone didn’t read this altogether. Let me help. According to the link (click on the red, underlined text “written a letter to his entire team”). This should open a new web page and the story should load for you. I have a feeling you’re still on dial-up so relax and wait a few minutes. Then once that page loads, you should come across this statement:

    I asked Coach if we could share his letter with all of you.

    You good now?

  29. RE LEE says: Mar 18, 2016 5:05 PM

    Well said… Players of any team should take heed. We hear incidents like these and we wonder what on earth these players are thinking. This hit home. Harbaugh must be shaken by this. Nice job coach.
    Most of all these players should count their blessings.
    council- counsel. Just nitpicking.

  30. Michael says: Mar 18, 2016 5:08 PM

    Every time he speaks, I like this guy more and more.

  31. owlbania says: Mar 18, 2016 5:14 PM

    He left out :don’t be involved in a murder and don’t throw bleach in face of your child’s mother.

  32. savethenflfirerogergoodell says: Mar 18, 2016 5:18 PM

    harbaugh: “clearly deceptive”

    biggest whiner in the history in football!

  33. kevo95 says: Mar 18, 2016 5:20 PM

    Well said

  34. motleytrap says: Mar 18, 2016 5:25 PM

    Yeah, riding motorcycles are dangerous. Then again, they say Mike Webster was in the equivalent of 25 000 car crashes over his football career.

    JMO but I can’t stand the “one eye blind” hypocrisy of the NFL. Some of their own players are going to an early grave for what they gave to this sport.

  35. hakunamangata says: Mar 18, 2016 5:28 PM

    tylawspick6; like I really needed another reason to dislike the patriots.

  36. getyourownname says: Mar 18, 2016 5:28 PM

    “He left out :don’t be involved in a murder”

    Another person who has never actually read the facts and the jury determination that there was no murder. But hey, it always feels good to repeat a lie you believe in.

  37. blacknole08 says: Mar 18, 2016 5:41 PM

    EVERY young man needs to read this. There are MANY temptations out there that will allow us to lose our way, even past the age of 25. Such beautiful words by Harbaugh.

  38. FinFan68 says: Mar 18, 2016 5:47 PM

    Ignore silly and unwise advice – You’ll know it when you see it.
    ~~~~~~~~
    No, John, They Don’t Know It When They See It. That’s Why You Felt Compelled To Write The Letter.

  39. ravens2xworldchamps says: Mar 18, 2016 5:53 PM

    Get well, T Walker, such a horrible situation…

    Well said, Coach Harbaugh.

  40. hmmm71 says: Mar 18, 2016 6:33 PM

    Very powerful message. Words cannot describe. Prayers for his famiy, you and your team.
    – a Vikings fan

  41. dimi1919 says: Mar 18, 2016 8:49 PM

    As a steelers fan, I think Tylawpick6 is an idiot. This is about life, not a stupid game.

  42. lennydpocketqb says: Mar 18, 2016 8:57 PM

    I just became a very big John Harbaugh fan today.

  43. RE LEE says: Mar 18, 2016 9:18 PM

    There’s a time for grumbling…This is not the time nor the place. Harbaugh and the Ravens fans don’t need to hear or read such hateful drivel at this moment. As a Patriot fan I apologize for that unfortunate post. We are all fans but there is something loftier than being that. We are all human beings foremost and we should dig deep into our sense of decency at times like this. Set aside anger and hate.

  44. dalcowdude says: Mar 18, 2016 10:07 PM

    harbaugh.you should spend more time studying the rule book…then write yourself letters

  45. minanten says: Mar 18, 2016 10:51 PM

    Now THAT’S my kind of coach. His men are not just numbers. Very classy!

  46. kelsey59 says: Mar 19, 2016 2:03 AM

    Tylawpick6 is another example of why the Patriots are hated. The other time was from the woman that made fun of Tory Smith’s brother dying in a motorcycle accident the day after it happened.

  47. lifetimefan says: Mar 19, 2016 7:05 AM

    As a Pats fan I agree with anyone who calls out Tylawpick6 for being incredibly insensitive.

    Prayers to Tray’s friends and family at this difficult time

  48. vikingforlife says: Mar 19, 2016 7:49 AM

    I heard last night that this young man lost his life. HIS LIFE. It is a sad day for everyone. Please do not make your comments about football right now. Re-read John’s powerful letter. As we learn more and more, life is short and we have to do as much as we can, try to the BEST with it. Be well and be safe out there.

  49. kyleka0s says: Mar 19, 2016 8:58 AM

    as a patriots fan myself, tylawpick6 does not represent all of us.

    this is a great letter and I hope this gets to a lot more people tha nfl players. good advice for all young people.

  50. shoeflypie says: Mar 19, 2016 9:16 AM

    I can’t imagine any young man, as they pass through high school and college participating in a team sport, not hearing some variation of Harbaugh’s words several times. This does not diminish the truth and importance of what Harbaugh has written. As someone with 42 years of experience in the classroom (teaching elementary students through college grad students), I can tell you that it takes far too many reiterations of the message for it to sink in with all the flash/bang of today’s society calling for attention.

    I am not putting today’s young folks down, just pointing out that peer pressure is really really strong. Add in the sudden changes in a life when a guy gets a B-i-i-g contract worth far more than any normal family will see in its lifetime, it is understandable that some of these guys will lose sight of their own mortality.

    Every football coach needs to recognize that they are also life coaches. Letters and personal conversations bearing the concepts of Harbaugh’s letter should be commonplace, not a rare newsworthy item. It doesn’t matter whether I like his team, approach to coaching, his family, or whatever. Harbaugh has stepped up to the plate in this case. Any of you critics out there with children in team sports should pray that their coaches pass this message along several times a year. I bet Walker’s folks wish he had heard the message.

  51. jag1959 says: Mar 19, 2016 10:12 AM

    Well said, one can only hope it falls on receptive ears. Almost all young men think they are bullet proof, I have already forwarded the link to my sons and several of the younger guys I know

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