Colts Trade Harbaugh To RavensAP , Associated Press
Feb. 14, 1998 12:50 PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Quarterback Jim Harbaugh was traded by the Indianapolis Colts to the Baltimore Ravens today for two draft choices.
In addition to Harbaugh, the Ravens acquired a fourth-round choice from the Colts in April's NFL draft. The Colts received Baltimore's third- and fourth-round draft choices.
Harbaugh highlighted his four-year stay with the Colts by leading the club to the 1995 AFC championship game.
``In one sense, this is a sad day for this franchise because a man who's meant a lot to this team and this community is leaving,'' Colts president Bill Polian said at a news conference at Colts complex.
``But it was my thought and that of (Colts coach) Jim Mora that it was best to go in a new direction with a young quarterback who will have hopefully a bright future for us.
``Given that sort of circumstances, we felt that it was best for Jim Harbaugh to give him an opportunity if we could to go to a situation that was beneficial for him.''
Harbaugh earned the nickname ``Captain Comeback'' for his heroics when the Colts came within one play of reaching the Super Bowl two years ago. That game produced just the second postseason appearance since they moved from Baltimore in 1984.
Harbaugh was ineffective early last season, which the Colts ended 3-13 _ their worst record since 1991. He sustained ankle, hand and neck injuries and compiled a 86.2 quarterback rating, fifth in the AFC.
But Harbaugh's 61.2 completion percentage was second only to San Francisco's Steve Young.
By trading Harbaugh, the Colts will gain considerable room under the NFL salary cap with the removal of the $3.75 million salary Harbaugh would have earned under the third year of his contract.
Last season, Harbaugh was embarrassed by a dispute involving retired Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who was working as an analyst for NBC-TV. Harbaugh threw a punch at Kelly and broke a bone in his passing hand, losing $147,000 when he was relegated to the non-football injured list.
Kelly had been talking of making a comeback through the Ravens, but coach Ted Marichbroda said the retired quarterback decided against it.
``Jim felt with his son sick...... it was best if he spend time with his family,'' Marchibroda said.
``Even though we were talking to Kelly we were looking at all of our options to see what would be the best thing for the organization. We think Harbaugh brings a tremendous amount of experience to the ballclub.''
Vinny Testaverde, who had the Ravens' starting job, had said he felt he was being pushing aside.
Marchibroda said, ``Vinny is still a Raven at this time. He will always be in the mix. He had a good first year here and we backed off a little in the second year, but he's still in the mix at this time.''
Ravens' owner Art Modell said recently the club planned to bring Testaverde back, but could not guarantee him a starting job.
The Ravens last season finished last in the AFC Central Division with a 6-9-1 record.