OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Coach John Harbaugh was adamant Wednesday when he once again denied that the Baltimore Ravens tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about deflated game balls used by the New England Patriots.
The Ravens acknowledged a team consultant contacted the Colts about kicking balls, but Harbaugh and the rest of the organization remained emphatically resolute that no one communicated with Indianapolis about the condition of the game balls used by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
"Any conversation that was had with the Colts had nothing to do with deflated footballs, which is what we've been saying since the very start," Harbaugh said. "I know that we've answered the questions from the beginning to the end very simply. Our yes is yes. Our no is no. We've answered questions directly and honestly and straightforward from the start."
About a half hour after the Ravens organization issued a statement saying it had no involvement with deflated footballs, Harbaugh was aggressive in his defense of the Ravens' alleged role in Deflategate. He even asked for more questions about the issue after there was a brief lull in his post-practice session with reporters.
"We're not running from any of it," Harbaugh said. "I'm not going to stand up here and say we're not talking about it. We've been honest from the beginning, so whatever you got, I'm more than happy to answer it."
These questions come one day after the release of emails by the NFL Players Association that included one from Colts equipment manager Sean Sullivan, who stated that Ravens special-teams coach Jerry Rosburg called Colts head coach Chuck Pagano during the week to tell him about an issue with the special-teams footballs during the Patriots-Ravens playoff game the prior week.
On Wednesday morning, the Ravens woke up to headlines in The Boston Globe and The Baltimore Sun that said they warned the Colts about footballs.
"It seems like somebody is trying to distract from the real issue here, which is deflated footballs, I guess, and take the attention off somebody else," Harbaugh said. "But I don't know who is doing what and I really couldn't care less about the whole thing. But if you look at what's even said in the email, the email is very clear cut. The guy got it wrong."
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, talking to Dan Dakich on ESPN FM 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis, said, "We've done our part and we're moving on ... every little snippet turns into an atomic bomb."
Rosburg denied talking to Pagano about the conditions of footballs. According to Rosburg, Pagano called him "on or about Jan. 12" to ask about a punt/field goal substitution play that the Patriots had used against the Ravens in the divisional playoff game.
The Ravens did acknowledge that kicking consultant Randy Brown texted Pagano about the kicking balls, which Harbaugh said he previously didn't know anything about. The team released the entire text sent from Brown to Pagano:
"Make sure the refs rotate the kicking balls cause last week they wouldn't let our ball in the game. Their ball was done so poorly that it was nearly impossible to kick off deep...It was hard and not worked in well at all...Let Tom [McMahon, Colts special-teams coordinator] know he can call me at any time."
In his final comments on deflated footballs, Harbaugh pointed to his shirt that read "4 Fights Every Day." The first fight, as Harbaugh noted, is "us versus them."
"If somebody wants to pick a fight with us, pick it," Harbaugh said. "Bring it on. Our yes is yes, our no is no. If we screwed up, we say we messed up and we take responsibility for it. That's how we do it around here. I love being a Raven, I love what we stand for. I'll stand with these guys all day long."