Bisciotti: 'I'm disappointed in the Bears'

April 30, 2011|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

In a rare public statement, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti called The Baltimore Sun late Friday night to address the trade debacle with the Chicago Bears:

"I'm disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskeys [the Bears' owners]. It is in my opinion a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree … probably end of story."

On Thursday night, the Ravens and Bears agreed on a trade in which they would switch places in the first round and the Ravens would receive Chicago's fourth-round pick in return. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome called the NFL with three minutes remaining to inform the league of the deal, but the Bears never phoned the league because of a reported miscommunication (Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said the confusion was caused when a pair of Bears staff members thought the other was phoning in the trade).

Under NFL rules, both teams have to confirm the trade to make it official.

After the clock expired, the Ravens drafted cornerback Jimmy Smith with the 27th pick (the Kansas City Chiefs jumped ahead to select 26th), and the Bears went on to get their targeted player, offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, with the 29th pick.

The Bears extended an apology to the Ravens, but not the fourth-round pick.

"It was our fault," Angelo told reporters Thursday night. "They did everything according to the rules. … We had a disconnect. Whatever you hear, Baltimore did everything right."

According to ESPN, Roger Goodell would not order the Bears to compensate the Ravens, but the NFL commissioner encouraged them to do so. The Bears declined (in fact, Chicago has already traded that fourth-round pick to the Washington Redskins to move up in the second round Friday).

"We spoke to the Ravens about it, we spoke to the league about it. I wasn't involved in those conversations, but [president] Ted [Phillips] has given me an update,'' Bears vice chairman George McCaskey told The Chicago Tribune. "We made a mistake. We apologize for it. The bottom line is, I understand it as the Ravens got the players they were wanting, and we got the player we were wanting.''

George McCaskey said he intends to talk to Bisciotti personall. The next opportunity to talk to Bisciotti would be the owners meetings in Indianapolis in May.

"I haven't even met him, actually,'' George McCaskey said about Bisciotti. "I've seen him in league meetings. I haven't had a chance to talk to him. But I'd prefer to talk to him about it, one-on-one, before responding to a quote in the newspaper.''

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was surprised by the Bears' decision not to give up a draft pick as compensation.

"The McCaskeys are the McCaskeys, they are the NFL," Harbaugh said. "I really think if they were making the decision, I'm pretty sure that fourth-round pick wouldn't be worth their history or their reputation."

Harbaugh added, "You make a deal. It's one thing to go back and say we have no deal. It's another thing to say for over two minutes we have a deal and we called it in. I'm not sure what Ozzie's supposed to do. He thinks it's a technical snafu, so it should be able to get resolved. If you called it in and Ozzie says it's not called in, how hard would it be to say, 'Let me pick up the phone and call it in if they don't have it.' It's pretty hard to understand."

The Bears have been criticized nationally and in Chicago for not honoring a verbal agreement.

Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh wrote, "If Angelo's apology was sincere, and the only thing preventing the trade from being consummated was his sloppy neglect, then the Bears should go ahead and offer to forfeit rights to that selection to the Ravens. That's the right thing to do."

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio speculated there could be repercussions for the Bears. "The Bears essentially encouraged the Ravens to go to hell, surrendering nothing. The case is now closed. Still, it could mean that the Ravens and other teams will think twice before doing business with the Bears and G.M. Jerry Angelo in the future."

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