Alberts's situation drew a spark of anger out of Indianapolis's usually upbeat quarterback. "You get tired of looking at the same guys on the sidelines collecting paychecks," Harbaugh said. "At some point we've got to find the guys who want to play. Those are the guys who are going to be there on Sunday."
At week's end no Colt had challenged the comments publicly, which brought to light Harbaugh's own transformation. Once the target of coach Mike Ditka's outbursts while with the Chicago Bears and then a just-happy-to-be-here guy during Indianapolis's drive to the 1995 AFC Championship Game, Harbaugh now exhibits the confidence and leadership one would expect from a quarterback who was a first-round draft choice.
"I'm not trying to kick a guy when he's down," Harbaugh said as he sat in the training camp cafeteria last Friday. "But this is a seriously screwed-up situation with Trev. And I'd say the same thing to [tackle] Troy Auzenne, who is also hurt. [Auzenne, who missed four games last year with a knee injury, had off-season knee surgery and hasn't been cleared to practice.] It just gets to the point where you have to say, 'Troy, are you going to play or stand there on the sidelines? Make up your mind. Because you can't just sit and take the money anymore.' "
Harbaugh paused and, leaning back in his chair, gave the scar on his chin a good rub. "Who knows?" he said. "Maybe the little guy inside my head who is supposed to stop me from saying all this stuff is taking a coffee break. I don't know if I have the right to say all of this. I'm just a quarterback—a normal, average quarterback."
Trying to get his team to the next level.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]