John Harbaugh giving out 'effort stickers' to reward Ravens

Constantly in search of ways to motivate his players, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh has started handing out stickers for good play. Jamison Hensley/ESPN.com

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- If you "Play Like A Raven" these days, you'll get the NFL version of a gold star.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is rewarding his players by placing "effort stickers" above their lockers. He started handing out the yellow, coin-sized decals this week after the Ravens fell to 2-7, which is tied for the second-worst record in the league.

"It kind of feels like we're back in elementary school a little bit," defensive end Chris Canty said. "Certainly, it's not one of those things to be overlooked, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Effort to the football is very important."

Both offensive and defensive players get the stickers, and quarterback Joe Flacco currently has the most with 32. Some players liken it to high school and college, when you get rewarded with a helmet stickers for hustle plays.

It appears that the Harbaugh brothers think alike. Jim Harbaugh brought back helmet stickers to the University of Michigan this season.

"It's more of a pride thing for each individual player," Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore said. "That's just the character of the team. If you want to be a Raven, you're going to fly around and you're going to get to the ball. This proves to everybody that not only does it show up on film, but it's going to show up on your locker."

John Harbaugh has continually tried to motivate players since he became the Ravens coach in 2008. Inspirational messages such as "W.I.N.: What's Important Now" and "The Team, The Team, The Team" can be seen in meeting rooms and just outside the locker room. Harbaugh handed out T-shirts in training camp this year that read: "Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable."

Harbaugh's latest motivational tool didn't come with much of speech.

"I think this is something that he just sprung on us," Canty said. "It's definitely different. I guess if you stay in this league long enough, you'll see just about everything."