SANTA CLARA (AP) — San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York stopped by Jim Harbaugh’s office Monday morning, and the coach said the two had a “real good talk” about the direction of the franchise.
Harbaugh called the meeting a “typical” conversation, though nothing surrounding the 49ers coach seems to be typical these days. He said both expressed appreciation for the job they’re doing and the team is moving forward as usual in preparation for next Monday night’s game at St. Louis.
“Everybody in the organization is doing their job, everybody is working hard at the craft of helping us be the best we can possibly be as a football team, and that’s all you can ask of anybody,” Harbaugh said. “They’re doing their best, and nobody appreciates that like I do. I know that’s what Jed appreciates. We work at the pleasure of the York family and the San Francisco 49ers organization, and that’s our job — do the best we possibly can. And I see everybody doing that.”
The drama involving Harbaugh bubbled up again last week.
NFL commentators and former players Deion Sanders and Trent Dilfer were among those that said Harbaugh had lost the locker room and the trust of his players. Another report questioned whether Harbaugh would be back with the 49ers next season.
York finally broke his silence on the topic, taking to Twitter before San Francisco’s 22-17 win over Kansas City on Sunday to try to quiet the latest fuss about Harbaugh’s future. York posted: “Jim is my coach. We are trying to win a SB (Super Bowl), not a personality or popularity contest. Any more questions?”
Many players also publicly backed Harbaugh and dismissed discussion that there’s friction between the coach and the locker room. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s comments echoed loudest.
“I love Coach Harbaugh. I’d go to war with him any day of the week,” Kaepernick said. “He’s a competitor, he wants to win and he’s going to do anything to put this team in a position to win.”
Harbaugh is in the fourth season of a $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011 when he left a successful stint at Stanford to become the 49ers coach.
York said last year he hoped to get a new deal done for Harbaugh during the offseason, but that didn’t happen. Instead, reports surfaced that the Cleveland Browns inquired about trading for Harbaugh.
Harbaugh has continued to describe his relationship with York, general manager Trent Baalke and the front office as “very good.” He praised his players again Monday, saying anybody questioning whether there’s an issue with the team only needs to look at the effort the 49ers (3-2) have put forth while winning the past two games.
“It’s an enjoyable team to be around. The way they play, the way they fight, the way they play together,” Harbaugh said. “My dad mentioned it when he was here for two weeks, the feeling he had for our team and how they interact, but the evidence is how they play. That’s a team that plays.”
In an interview on the “Rich Eisen Show” on DirecTV on Monday, York acknowledged that Harbaugh has a difficult personality and his competitive attitude “sometimes rubs people the wrong way.”
When asked if he was aware that his temperament can bother some in the organization, Harbaugh responded: “No. Not so much.”
However he does it, Harbaugh’s way wins.
In his first season, Harbaugh earned NFL Coach of the Year honors while leading the 49ers back to the playoffs following an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth or winning record. San Francisco lost in the NFC championship game that season to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Harbaugh followed that up by coaching the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years, but San Francisco missed out on the franchise’s sixth championship by losing to his brother John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers went back to the NFC championship game last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.