Ravens move practice indoors

  • Sal Paolantonio [ARCHIVE]
  • ESPN | January 31, 2013

NEW ORLEANS -- The Baltimore Ravens moved their team practice to the Saints' indoor facility on Thursday after practicing outdoors in heavy winds at Tulane University on Wednesday.

The team held practice at the Saints' facility at 5 p.m. ET after the San Francisco 49ers completed their practice.

The Ravens left the team hotel at 2:45 p.m. ET and headed to Tulane to get dressed and gather their equipment. The Ravens then conducted their walk-through, which they call AACT (Alignment, Assignment, Cadence, Technique), outdoors for approximately 20 minutes.

After that walk-through, the Ravens boarded the buses, in their practice uniforms and gear, and traveled to the Saints' indoor practice facility to conduct a full practice and special teams work.

"This wouldn't have worked out if the coaches didn't know each other," Ravens coach John Harbaugh told ESPN.

Brother Jim Harbaugh's 49ers practiced Wednesday at the Saints' facility. 

"The field at Tulane University was a little hard. The wind was OK, but we would rather be inside for the timing of our passing game," Harbaugh told ESPN.

The Ravens practiced for nearly two hours on a makeshift 80-yard field stretching across the outfield at Tulane's Greer Field baseball stadium and dealt with wind gusts of up to 24 mph.

Besides getting approval from the 49ers, the NFL also had to give the Ravens approval to make this arrangement. After negotiations between the two teams and the league, the accommodations were made for Thursday and Friday. There is less of a conflict on Friday because both team's practices are shorter.

"There is no competitive disadvantage," NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora said in an email. "The Ravens expressed a desire to spend a portion of practice today working on a grass field, which is present at the Saints' facility but not at Tulane. We were able to accommodate that request and so the team will conduct their walk-through at Tulane and then the remainder of their practice at the Saints' complex. ...

"We know that John Harbaugh and some players said today the field at Tulane felt hard in spots. The NFL grounds crew worked extensively on the field at Tulane to make sure it was up to NFL standards. As part of the preparation, the field was tested to measure how hard the surface was. The tests resulted in readings that were within the acceptable range for NFL fields as per our policies, and very similar to what both clubs will find at the Superdome on Sunday."

Both Super Bowl teams have worked out at the same venue before. In 2004 in Houston, the Panthers and Patriots both used the Texans' training facility.

Quarterback Joe Flacco told ESPN the wind didn't bother him too much Wednesday, but said, "If we are going to be playing in a dome, we might as well practice inside."

Rather than the heavy wind, Flacco said the "major issue" was the "pounding on the turf" the Ravens' receivers and defensive backs were taking.

Baltimore had the option of working at the Saints' indoor facility late in the afternoon or early Wednesday evening after the 49ers finished. But John Harbaugh said Wednesday he and the players preferred to practice on schedule in mid-afternoon.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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