PRESTON: Ravens' owner Bisciotti needs to rein in Harbaugh
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti needs to bring coach John Harbaugh into his office, sit him on the couch and get some answers.
Here are some of the questions to be addressed: Are you okay? Is the stress getting to you? Are you in danger of losing control of this team?
And then there are more pertinent ones for the 2015 season: What do you think of ObamaCare? Will the Iran nuclear agreement hold up? Are you Jim or John Harbaugh?
These questions are a reflection of Harbaugh's behavior lately, which has been bizarre, to say the least. It's time for the owner to rein him in.
When Harbaugh is focused, he is good. When he misbehaves, he can get out of control.
Some control was exerted over the coach at least once before before. Following the 2013 season in which the Ravens didn't make the playoffs, the team's Big Three of Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome pushed Harbaugh to pick Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator rather than wide receivers coach Jim Hostler.
After another postseason appearance last year, Harbaugh had settled in, but in the past couple of weeks we have seen Harbaugh Unplugged. He has gone on a political rant, defended Terrell Suggs' cheap shot, watched his team embarrass itself against the Philadelphia Eagles and had two run-ins, caught on camera, with his own sideline reporter at halftime.
And most of that was all before he sprinted across the field Saturday night to break up a fight between the Ravens and Washington Redskins, only to exchange some heated words with Washington coach Jay Gruden.
It was hard to tell if this was a preseason game or an installment of Wrestlemania. The only things missing were Hulk Hogan entering M&T Bank Stadium like Ray Lewis, or Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka jumping off the top rope of Section 536.
Aren't coaches supposed to have discipline and restore order? Shouldn't Harbaugh have exhibited more control? Instead, he looked like younger brother Jim after his run-in with former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz a couple of years ago.
John Harbaugh knows better, but he has been off kilter recently. We saw the first signs about two weeks ago with his comments about supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's idea to build a wall at the border of the United States and Mexico to cut down on illegal immigrants.
It was unprompted, a Harbaugh tangent. But this is a great time for Bisciotti to remind Harbaugh that sports are the great escape. It's a time to get away from reality, which can be tough and cruel. This is supposed to be about fun and games.
Instead of his insights on politics, how about information on why it is taking Breshad Perriman's sprained knee so long to heal, or why this team can't develop a legitimate No. 1 receiver?
Fans would like to know why the Ravens seemed to have no interest in playing Philadelphia after a few days of joint practices and how they plan to improve when they stay on the road between games on two trips to the West Coast this season.
They'd like to know if it was a bad precedent to have your star receiver in a luxury suite with his family after being ejected from a game.
Those aren't good signs.
It doesn't make sense when Harbaugh challenges the character of the Eagles for criticizing Suggs after he hit quarterback Sam Bradford near his surgically-repaired knees, yet nine Ravens were arrested in a recent 13-month period. Or maybe we should just mention this name: Ray Rice.
If he continues, Harbaugh could become the new version of Sam Wyche, the fiery former Cincinnati Bengals coach who began a political career after leaving the NFL.
For now, instead of acting like Jim, he should just be John.
John was just as combative and feisty as Jim with a sideline reporter Saturday night when the reporter simply asked him about a skirmish on the field and the Ravens giving up another touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half.
They were valid questions, but Harbaugh didn't think so, saying "give me a good question and I'll answer it." On Monday, he acknowledged his behavior, telling reporters "hopefully, I can improve at that."
Defenders of Harbaugh will say that football is an emotional game, and the reporter caught Harbaugh at the wrong time. That excuse is old and lame. We all face emotional issues every day. That doesn't give us the right to treat others poorly and act like a fool.
What is missing here is what happened the week before during another halftime interview. Right before he was supposed to go on the air Harbaugh sprinted toward the reporter like he was a bull charging a matador. It was just so strange, so bizarre. He ended the interview by apparently pushing down the camera.
The Ravens apparently have agreed to halftime interviews, and until the format changes, Harbaugh should act professionally.
The Ravens might need to calm Harbaugh down. It's just not one incident, but a collection of several in recent weeks. It's not unusual for coaches to have this problem. Some want to be general managers, too, but can't handle both jobs. Some can do radio and TV shows, but others can't. A good boss knows his coach's limitations. Harbaugh seems to know his.
"Those halftime interviews are tough, and I don't think I'm very good at it," Harbaugh said Monday. "I haven't been very good at it. I haven't been very good with the national group, haven't been very good with the local group — I think that's pretty well documented."
The Ravens need to recognize those shortcomings now, and act. They need John, not Jim.