Chris McAlister Gets Benched, but Not for Violating Team Dress Code (Maybe)

Maybe Chris McAlister lost his luggage. Or maybe he's a maverick. Whatever, first-year head coach John Harbaugh isn't impressed with the Ravens' cornerback's decision to ignore the team's dress code during last week's trip to Miami.

McAlister was wearing a T-shirt and shorts in the lobby of the team hotel prior to kickoff Sunday morning while his teammates were dressed in suits. During Harbaugh's weekly radio program, a fan called it embarrassing and referenced McAlister's past violations of team rules, including breaking curfew and skipping a team meeting prior to a 2003 road game against the San Diego Chargers.

"As far as the dress for the bus, it was wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday night. "It was a mistake. It's been addressed and we're moving forward. We've got a discipline policy in place. We don't talk about things in the past.

It seems minor, sure, but Harbaugh's trying to change the culture in Baltimore, which previously featured Brian Billick enabling his players and it eventually turned into an "inmates running the asylum" situation. Plus, it's not like this happened in isolation; McAlister apparently has a history of breaking team rules, and in addition to wearing a t-shirt AND shorts in the team hotel, he was allegedly with three young women in the lobby Sunday morning. Oh, the humanity.

Harbaugh claims he never saw the women, but stressed the team goes through great lengths to insure the players don't go all Pacman Jones before kickoff. "We've got police officers at every elevator and exit. We want our guys to be secure, safe and focused."

McAlister, who only played in a handful of snaps against the Dolphins, is predictably unhappy about his demotion.

"You're all confused? [Harbaugh] said he put his best 11 on the field," McAlister said. "Obviously, he thinks Frank is better than me.... You all go look at the tape of the first four weeks and tell me if it feels like I need to be on the field or not."

Well, other than the Colts game. Don't look at that.

McAlister did call Walker "a good corner," but nobody really believes that. At least to the extent that Walker should be on the field over McAlister. Of course, I don't fault Harbaugh for making an example of McAlister (assuming that's what he's doing); the Giants did it with Plaxico Burress, and it just reinforces the point that no one player is bigger than the team. Except for Eli Manning. Obviously.

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