New Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta ripped reports of conflict with John Harbaugh and praised the coach for his friendship, vision and conviction during his introductory news conference Wednesday.
"I can tell you this, John is the only coach I want to work with," DeCosta said.
DeCosta pointed out that they are neighbors in the Ravens' facility as well as in real life. DeCosta and Harbaugh live about 100 yards from each other.
Over the past few months, The Baltimore Sun and local sports talk radio speculated that DeCosta and Harbaugh "aren't close" and have a "strained relationship." DeCosta, who replaced Ozzie Newsome as general manager, said the speculation bothered him.
"I would read it, and all I would think to myself is, 'We have enemies out there who are trying to create divisions and cracks and fissures and things like that,'" DeCosta said. "So I get it. But it did upset me a little bit, I think, because it just wasn't true and it was a personal thing. It wasn't work-related; it wasn't a game or something that would affect the outcome of a game or strategy. It was personal, and it was simply not true."
Harbaugh, who attended DeCosta's news conference, said earlier this month that he admired DeCosta's energy and passion. They have worked side-by-side for the past 11 years since Harbaugh became the coach in 2008. DeCosta started out as an intern with the Ravens and climbed the ladder, being named assistant GM in 2012.
Last week, the Ravens and Harbaugh agreed to a new four-year deal running through 2022.
DeCosta did acknowledge that he and Harbaugh don't always agree, especially when it comes to evaluating players.
"I think what I've learned over the years ... is it's healthy to have disagreements or to see things differently," DeCosta said. "You have to make the best decision for the organization, and you do that by talking about things, not running from them, not closing your door. You talk about these things. You confront the issue."