San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had an appointment Tuesday for a follow-up evaluation with doctors after undergoing a minor procedure last Thursday for an irregular heartbeat.
The 49ers canceled Harbaugh’s scheduled media conference call minutes before it was to begin Tuesday afternoon, a day after San Francisco’s 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears, but gave no indication that there is anything of further concern with Harbaugh’s health in addition to what he went through last week. The team released a schedule with Harbaugh set for his usual Wednesday news conference.
Harbaugh, the reigning NFL Coach of the Year who turns 49 next month, was candid about the ”cardiovert” – or shocking of the heart to treat an irregular heartbeat – he had done at Stanford Hospital. He has had the condition for most of his life, he said.
Harbaugh was his typical energetic self on the sideline Monday night with the NFC West-leading Niners (7-2-1), who have a quick turnaround for Sunday’s game at New Orleans in a rematch of the NFC divisional playoff game won 36-32 by San Francisco at Candlestick Park last January.
What was supposed to be an NFC showdown with the Bears quickly turned into a rout, with backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick leading the way on a night starter Alex Smith watched from the sideline recovering from a concussion.
Harbaugh – whose team improved to 5-1 in prime time and 3-0 on ”Monday Night Football” since he took over before the 2011 season – could face a tough decision on who to start under center against the Saints.
Kaepernick went 16 for 23 for 243 yards, two touchdowns and an impressive passer rating of 133.1 in his first NFL start. The second-year pro, a second-round draft pick out of Nevada in 2011, hardly seemed fazed by football’s big stage. He directed scoring drives on the Niners’ initial four possessions and completed 12 of his first 14 passes with a 57-yard throw to Kyle Williams that set up Vernon Davis’ 3-yard TD on the next play.
”Thought Colin did an outstanding job,” Harbaugh said after the game. ”Poise in the pocket, pushing the ball and throwing with accuracy. Did a nice job running the game plan. Everything he did was exemplary, again.”
Kaepernick earned the respect of his teammates, all right. He credited them for supporting him all week as he prepared to start in place of Smith, who was injured in a 24-24 tie against the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 11.
Kaepernick also threw a 10-yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree in the third quarter.
”I’m not worried about Kaep,” Crabtree said. ”He’s a gamer, he knows one speed and that’s go. We know that. It was a great team win.”
Notes: The 49ers announced they signed safety Eddie Whitley to the practice squad.