Ravens talking about Kaepernick as Harbaugh plays down Flacco injury fears

Updated: 

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh does not believe quarterback Joe Flacco is in any danger of missing the start of the new NFL season with a back injury, but indicated Colin Kaepernick could be brought in with his starter at least temporarily on the sideline.

Initial reports suggested a disc injury in his back could keep Flacco out for three to six weeks, but Harbaugh expects him to only a miss a week.

"They are recommending about a week of rest. They say that should take care of it," Harbaugh said at a media conference.

"I guess with the back, you can always say, 'We'll see.' But all indications from the back specialist, Dr. [John] Carbone, are that he should be fine in about a week. That's what we'll be hoping for and praying for."

Asked about possibility of Flacco missing the beginning of the new campaign, Harbaugh replied; "Nothing like that. We'll be ready for everything. It's not just Joe, it's every single position. You want to build as much insurance in your roster as you possibly can at every spot, quarterback no less.

"But everything looks fine with Joe. I'm not a doctor and I don't think anybody knows for sure what could happen. Anybody could get hurt out here at any time. But taking the precaution, I think Joe with a week of rest here is not going to hurt our offense. It might help our offense in terms of developing some other guys. I'd rather go that route than go the other route."

Kaepernick remains unsigned after he parted company with the San Francisco 49ers following a 2016 season in which he attracted criticism by kneeling for the national anthem.

But Harbaugh conceded the quarterback the Ravens defeated in Super Bowl XLVII is on their radar.

"I've known Colin really through my brother [former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh] for many years and we've talked," he said. "I got to know him really well when they scrimmaged here [in 2014]. He and I have been talking throughout the summer, a number of times.

"We've had some great conversations on the phone. It's really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics and stuff, too, and we've had some debates. It's been fun. He's a great guy.

"He's a guy right now that's being talked about and we'll just see what happens with that. I think it will all be speculation right now but I think he's a really good football player. As I said at the owners meetings, I do believe he'll be playing in the National Football League this year."