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John Harbaugh backs Andy Reid

There's somebody out there who still believes the Eagles' Andy Reid is a good football coach. Actually, there's more than one person, but the number is definitely dwindling.

There's somebody out there who still believes the Eagles' Andy Reid is a good football coach. Actually, there's more than one person, but the number is definitely dwindling.

John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, still believes.

"The Eagles are always at their best when times are toughest," Harbaugh told reporters Monday in Baltimore. "If you go back through Andy Reid's history, that's what the Eagles have been about, and that's what we're going to get. We're going to get the real Eagles. It's going to be a real challenge."

When the Eagles play the Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, Harbaugh will be among the first to find out if the 5-4-1 Eagles can rebound from a hideous 13-13 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore will be trying to bounce back from a lopsided loss to the New York Giants.

Harbaugh said the date Nov. 23 got stuck in his mind when the Ravens' schedule was released in the spring.

"I just remembered the date for whatever reason," Harbaugh said. "That might be the only one I remember the exact date on."

That's understandable. The Ravens' coach spent 10 seasons in Philadelphia, working his first season for former head coach Ray Rhodes and the last nine under Reid. Despite the mental etching of Sunday's date in his brain, Harbaugh  tried to say  this game doesn't carry any extra weight for him. By the time he was done saying it, however, he had essentially admitted otherwise.

"Not really," he said when asked if there was extra pressure going against his former team. "I'd like to say it does. I think it'd be a good story. It'd be interesting to talk about it. I've got a lot of great relationships there. I love those guys - the coaching staff, players, people who are really good friends.

"But the Ravens are my football team. The guys in this room that just had this team meeting in here, these are my guys, and I'm proud to be their coach. It's more about our guys than it is about their guys, for sure.

"I know you say, 'Well, that's what he's going to say.' Now, competitively, you're going against your brothers. It means something. It's exciting. There's a little bit of something at stake, and it'll be fun before the game. But when the game starts, it's going to be our players playing against their players, and whoever plays the best is going to win. It wouldn't be much of a showdown between me and Coach Reid out there. I think I'd be able to cover him, and he'd probably be able to block me. That'd be my guess."

And quite a sight, too.

Harbaugh has done a terrific job in his rookie season as the Ravens' coach. Baltimore (6-4) has already won once more than it did a year ago despite starting rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, a first-round pick from Audubon High in South Jersey and the University of Delaware.

It sounded as if Harbaugh spent time talking to Reid before his team played Sunday at Giants Stadium. The Ravens, as it turned out, had no more luck stopping New York's powerful running game than the Eagles did.

"It's sporadic," Harbaugh said of conversing with his former boss. "We happened to talk a lot last week, and maybe three weeks before that we happened to talk. We text back and forth on different things. But he's been, obviously, a huge part of my growth as a football coach. I'm proud to call him a friend.

"We laugh a lot and talk about different things. And he's had some impact. I've called him up when some things have come up here and you ask him what he thinks, but not as much as you might think, really. Everybody's busy with their jobs."

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