San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is known for his on-field antics — his hopping around, arguing and screaming have provided the Internet with many a meme. And who can forget his khakis?
But for all his on-field gesticulations, Harbaugh is trying to clear up rumors that he is looking to jump ship from the Bay Area. His name had been bandied about in recent weeks after rumors of a trade to the Browns surfaced.
Since then, the relationship between Harbaugh and the 49ers has turned into a daytime soap opera. CEO Jed York refuted the original report that the 49ers explored a trade of Harbaugh to the Browns on Twitter, then had to backtrack and clarify once Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslem said the two sides had indeed explored the idea. How far those talks went is anyone’s guess.
Last week, a report surfaced in the San Francisco Chronicle which quoted a source saying Harbaugh’s act has worn thin among the team’s marquee players.
So, Harbaugh, who has turned around a beleaguered 49ers franchise by taking them to two conference title games and a Super Bowl appearance, felt he needed to clear the air with these comments to Sports illustrated when asked if he was trying to leave San Francisco:
“No," Harbaugh said. "Zero opportunity or chance of that in my mind."
Harbaugh said he would not negotiate in the media. Instead, our conversation was something of an anti-negotiation. He talked about all the things people think he wants.
"I see all these reports about how I want to be the highest-paid coach in football," Harbaugh said. "They presume I covet some kind of extension. I have never said to anybody that I want to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never said that to anybody — my wife, my brother, my dad. I make plenty of money.
"The other one is that I want more power. I have never said that, nor do I want any more power than I have. I coach the team. I’ve told my owner I don’t want any more power. I want to coach the team. And I’ve never told anybody else otherwise."
Harbaugh is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $25 million deal he signed before the 2011 season after leaving Stanford. The 49ers are 36-11-1 (and 5-3 in the playoffs) in Harbaugh’s first three seasons with the club.
On Monday, the team also re-signed wide receiver Anquan Boldin to a two-year deal. The 49ers’ top target from last season was asked about a locker room divide between coach and players.
Boldin: "I don't think anybody in our locker room has a problem with coach Harbaugh." Said he laughed at the notion of a rift.
The 49ers also have a decision to make about their young quarterback. Colin Kaepernick is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is asking for more money than Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Since taking over for Alex Smith as the team’s starter last year, Kaepernick is 17-6 in 23 career starts, throwing for 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He is also 4-2 as a starter in the playoffs.
Should the 49ers pay Kaepernick? What about Harbaugh? Watch our roundtable discussion below then leave us your thoughts in the comments section.