John Harbaugh ‘loves’ Joe Flacco, but not the Browns

OWINGS MILLS — Joe Flacco will always have a legacy with the Ravens as a Super Bowl champion.

Now, he’s reaching iconic status with the Browns.

Flacco has revitalized Cleveland since being signed as a free agent on November 20th. He has gone 4-1 as the starting quarterback, throwing for 1,616 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

He also has helped the Browns reach the postseason for the first time since 2020. Cleveland is the fifth seed and travels to No. 4 Houston on Saturday at 4: 30 p.m.

Flacco’s history doesn’t mean the Ravens will be rooting for Cleveland in the playoffs,

“I love Joe,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ve texted back and forth a number of times since then, [and] it’s been fun. I’m happy for him, for his family, [and] I’m excited for him. It doesn’t really matter what team you have someone playing for … And I always say, my dad was always a coach, so we never really were too much fans of teams, especially in football. We were fans of friends and family, that’s who we rooted for. So, Joe is a friend and family to me. So, heck yeah, I root for Joe Flacco. But I don’t root for any opponent that we’re playing, so it doesn’t really matter this week.”

Flacco spent 11 seasons in Baltimore and threw for 38,245 yards with 212 touchdowns and 136 interceptions.

He is best remembered for his performance in the 2012 postseason when he had 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions en route to a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII where he was named MVP.

Flacco suffered a hip injury midway through the 2018 season and was replaced by Lamar Jackson, who led the team to the playoffs and became the new franchise quarterback.

Jackson savored his time with Flacco as a teammate, but he’s not interested in watching the Browns unless the Ravens have to prepare for them in the divisional round.

 “I don’t know if I’m going to watch the game, but I know I’ll watch film,” Jackson said.It’s great to see Joe back playing. I always felt like he was elite just from my rookie year watching him practice [and] seeing him throw the ball across the field, flat-footed. I was like, ‘Dang. This guy.’ It’s all mechanics. If we play him, hopefully, he’ll be showing off the ‘Joe elite’ then. It would be great to play against him.” 

By earning the top seed in the AFC playoffs, the Ravens will play the lowest remaining seed in the divisional round. That could mean a homecoming for Flacco.

Harbaugh said the Ravens will be ready for any opponent.

“We’ll play whoever wins, and we’re taking on all comers, so to speak,” Harbaugh said. “Then if it comes to them, if we’re playing Joe – and we know a lot of other people on other teams, too, whoever you’re playing – they become the opponent. And you’re trying to defeat the opponent by any means necessary.” 

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