Harbaugh backtracks from anti-Patriots comments

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Harbaugh backtracks from anti-Patriots comments

Well, that didn't take long.

Less than four hours after creating a firestorm -- in these parts, anyway -- by sayingthe Spygate controversy had tainted the Patriots' Super Bowl championships, Ravens coach John Harbaugh began walking (sprinting?) the comments back.

He released a statement that read:

While on the 98 Rock show this morning to talk about the run to honor O.J. Brigance and raise funds for ALS research, I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain. My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the leagues actions.

I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. Bill Belichick and Sean Payton both know that.

There has been some distortion about what I said.

The original tweet indicated I pointed the finger at Bill Belichick and mentioned Bills name. I did not. I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career. I called him to remind him of my respect for him. I also reached out to Tedy Bruschi, who rightfully defended those Patriot players and coaches on ESPN, to tell him that I agree with him that the Patriots earned every victory.

Belichick has, publicly at least, severed relationships with coaches who've crossed him in the past -- Eric Mangini and Tony Dungy leap to mind -- so we'll see how he responds to this. Belichick urged the Ravens to hire Harbaugh, and, based on warm conversations they've had prior to Pats-Ravens games that were captured on NFL Films, seemed to have a good rapport with him.

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