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John Harbaugh thrilled to have 'superstar' Joe Flacco

The question seemed fair enough: Has Joe Flacco grown from a quarterback who was bolstered by a running game and defense early in his career to one who will now raise up the young offense talent on the Baltimore Ravens' roster, as great quarterbacks do?

Take it as the serious, long-winded form of the now widespread "is Joe Flacco elite?" gag.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh fired back at the question.

"I'm not going to swallow that hook," he said, per the team's official website. "Joe Flacco has been a great quarterback from the day he got here, OK? You want to look back and say, 'This has been the most talented offense in the National Football League for the last seven years, and they've carried Joe Flacco?' You can say that if you want, but it's ridiculous.

"Joe Flacco is a great player. He's only going to get better. I think he's hitting his stride, hitting the peak of his career, and I wouldn't want any other quarterback in the National Football League - period. End of story. So, just write that and be done with it, because that's the last I really want to hear about it.

"This guy is a superstar in the National Football League, and I'm thrilled to have him, and I can't wait to see what he does this year with all that young talent around him. I love the young talent around him. I'm thrilled with what we have, and I just want to coach them. I just want to coach them with our guys and get out there and get after it and see where we can go with it."

It's clear that the Ravens have deep faith in Flacco, despite the sensitivity to the $100 million punch lines. Earlier this offseason, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta raved about Flacco's ability to develop receivers. With a flock of young wideouts behind Steve Smith, that ability will be paramount for the Ravens in 2015.

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