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Gut Punch

The mic’d up reaction of the Ravens sideline after J.K. Dobbins tore his ACL in the final preseason game of summer is tough to watch

September 09, 2021

On the first series of the first quarter of the Baltimore Ravens’ final preseason game of 2021, J.K. Dobbins caught a screen pass and turned upfield. He was hit low and his left knee bent backward. In obvious pain, the second-year bruiser grabbed his left knee, unable to put any weight on his leg as he was helped to the sideline. He was carted to the locker room and the following day, the Ravens’ worst fears were confirmed: Dobbins has torn his ACL and would be out for the entirety of the season.

The biggest victim in all this is, of course, Dobbins himself, who has a grueling 12-month recovery ahead of him just to be ready for the start of the 2022 season, but it was also a huge loss for the Ravens, who were looking to Dobbins to be their bell cow this season. We rarely get to see how a gut punch like that affects a team from the inside, but this mic’d-up clip of the Ravens sideline after Dobbins’ injury proves the impact is just as devastating as you might expect. If you have the stomach for it, give it a watch.

It’s a grim scene across the board, but coach John Harbaugh takes it hardest of all, telling Lamar Jackson and safety Anthony Levine, “I just wanted to get the offense one series, you know, just to be together …” before trailing off, muttering a million regrets.

“You can’t think about it, coach,” Jackson responds.

“Yeah nah, that’s football coach,” Levine chimes in, both players clearly stunned but trying to pick up their ball coach all the same.

“I’m not gonna get over it right now,” Harbaugh continues, “I’ll get over it, but not right now.”

So much of the external chatter about big injuries this time of year centers around what it means for a team’s playoff chances and fantasy handcuffs and so on, but it’s good to see the human side of it as well. Football is a business, but it was a game amongst friends and peers first, and to see a coach so shaken up by putting one of his guys in harm’s way, well, let’s just say it gives you hope for the future of a sport that seems built for the short term.

Yes, even if you’re a Steelers fan.