Quarterback Joe Flacco was not the only one to be financially rewarded after the Ravens’ victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
Coach John Harbaugh, who has led the Ravens to the playoffs in all five seasons at the helm of the team, agreed to a four-year contract extension with the team that will make him one of the highest paid coaches in the NFL.
The deal was reached “months ago,” according to a source. However, it just surfaced Thursday about an hour before kickoff of the Ravens-Broncos NFL season opener.
ESPN first reported the deal with Pro Football Talk reporting that the agreement will pay Harbaugh nearly $7 million per season. Four coaches are believed to make more than $7 million per year: Washington’s Mike Shanahan, New England’s Bill Belichick, New Orleans’ Sean Payton and Kansas City’s Andy Reid.
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome declined to comment on the report when approached in the press box at Sports Authority Field before Thursday night’s game.
Harbaugh, 50, signed a three-year contract extension in 2011, worth $4 million per season. However, in the aftermath of the team’s second Super Bowl victory and the first for the head coach, the Ravens ripped up the final two years of the deal in favor of the four-year extension. He’s now signed through the 2016 season.
●EAGLES: The first punch thrown at Riley Cooper since it became known he made a racial remark didn’t come from an opponent, but a teammate.
Cooper, who left the Eagles for three days in training camp after a video of him using a racial slur surfaced on the Internet, found himself in a scuffle with defensive back Cary Williams at practice. Cooper, a wide receiver, said afterward it had nothing to do with his comment at a Kenny Chesney concert in June. And Williams declined to speak to reporters.
“Both being super competitive, going for the ball,” Cooper said. “We had a tangle-up at the ball, we both went to the ground. There was a lot of contact at the top of the route.
“It was nothing.”
“Our maturity level has to be on a whole different plane,” said quarterback Michael Vick, who was involved in breaking up the scuffle. “Regardless of who the catalyst was for the whole fight, that doesn’t matter. We have to be men. We’re not guys who are out on the street, fighting one another. We’re teammates. It’s game week. We don’t have time for that. I don’t.
“It’s a distraction.”
●TEXANS: Safety Ed Reed could play when Houston opens the season at San Diego on Monday night after returning to practice this week as he recovers from hip surgery.
“I don’t want to say it can’t happen because there’s been such good progress,” Coach Gary Kubiak said. “So we’ll see day to day.”
Reed was taken off the physically unable to perform list on Saturday and returned on a limited basis. He has been recovering from April surgery to repair a partially torn labrum.
●BRONCOS: Tight end Julius Thomas started in the season opener against the Ravens despite revelations of his arrest last week.
Thomas had been stopped for speeding on Aug. 28 and was then arrested for failing to appear in court for a traffic citation earlier this year, Arapahoe County sheriff’s Capt. Glenn Thompson said. A deputy issued a citation to Thomas for allegedly going 57 mph in a 40 mph zone and he was released on $500 bond the same day of his arrest, which was first reported by the Denver Post.
Thomas is scheduled in court on Sept. 12.
Records show that Thomas missed a March 21 court hearing for a citation issued Jan. 25 for failing to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle.
●LIONS: Rookie Ziggy Ansah was able to practice, a sign that his recovery from a concussion may be progressing.
Ansah, a defensive end, took part in drills during the portion of practice that was open to reporters. The previous day, he did some running off to the side during practice, and later the team finally acknowledged that he was recovering from a concussion. Ansah did not travel to Detroit’s preseason finale at Buffalo last week.
Ansah was the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft. He was believed to have hurt his head after colliding with a teammate in practice Aug. 24.
The Lions open the season against Minnesota on Sunday.