Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is up to his neck preparing for next month’s NFL draft, but not so much that he couldn’t pay a weekend visit to a good friend in Albuquerque.
Harbaugh and his father, Jack, are guests of Duke City Gladiators coach Dominic Bramante, who invited the two to soak up the festivities and see the sights preceding the team’s Champions Indoor Football opener tonight at Tingley Coliseum.
Besides being close friends for 25 years through the coaching ranks and in motivational speaking circles, both sideline bosses also are championship-winning coaches. Harbaugh’s Ravens won the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. Bramante’s Gladiators earned the CIF crown last June.
“Dominic’s done a great job and that’s a big target on his back now, but I think he’s going to be OK,” Harbaugh said. “We’re great friends and I’m looking forward to seeing the game.”
And also maybe doing a little scouting.
“Always, man,” he said. “Always looking for good players, and these guys are champions.”
The two men, along with Jack, who was a longtime college coach, addressed about 150 people Friday afternoon at the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors building.
The theme was leadership and motivation, but also plenty about John’s somewhat zany relationship with his brother Jim, a former head coach with the San Francisco 49ers and now at Michigan.
“There were a lot of crushed walls in the house, tumbling down the stairs and fights in the backyard,” Jack said of the pair growing up, with John one year older.
But in Friday’s talk, John also found time to stick to the script in a give-and-take with his audience.
“At whatever you do, you give 100 percent to your family and 100 percent to your job,” John said. “And in my job, if you think you’re going to be a scratch golfer, too, something else is going to have to suffer.”
He also said that people you relate with need to know someone believes in them, and that he stresses that in dealing with his defending AFC North champions.
Added Bramante, who also spoke at the meeting: “You never know when you’re going to touch somebody’s life.”
But now more on that sibling rivalry.
In the Super Bowl six years ago in the Superdome, it was John’s Ravens vs. Jim’s 49ers. Mom and dad were in the stands.
Said Jack: “After a score, I didn’t want to scratch my head because it might appear (on TV) I liked one more than the other.”
The Ravens bolted to a 28-6 lead, weathered a roughly 45-minute power outage and then hung on to win 34-31 thanks to a last-minute goal-line stand.
“So, after the game I’m going out to shake hands with my brother,” John said. “And I’m feeling bad for him. So I’m going to kind of give him a ‘bro hug.’
“But then this is what he said while putting up a mini arm-bar: ‘There will be no hug.’ I didn’t feel so bad for him after that,” John said to laughter all around.