Harbaugh defends departed WR Jenkins

A.J. Jenkins no longer is in a San Francisco 49ers uniform after

being dealt to Kansas City. Coach Jim Harbaugh is still coming to

the defense of his former receiver.

Harbaugh took the opportunity Wednesday to again criticize those

who delivered a negative take on Jenkins, the 2012 first-round pick

who underachieved in his one-plus season with San Francisco.

Asked a question Wednesday about Jon Baldwin, the receiver the

49ers acquired from the Chiefs on Monday for Jenkins, Harbaugh

weaved Jenkins into the discussion unsolicited.

”I don’t think it’s fair to bully or label a young player,

though I fully understand that people are entitled to their opinion

and perspective,” Harbaugh said. ”However, I prefer the criticism

– I’d appreciate if the criticism – is directed toward me. I’m

responsible, and I certainly accept it. Actually, welcome it.”

Jenkins, the 30th overall pick in 2012, appeared in just three

games last season and didn’t make a single catch. With the Achilles

tendon injury to No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree, he was viewed as

a leading candidate to start this season opposite Anquan

Boldin.

But Jenkins hardly distinguished himself through the early

portion of training camp and two exhibition games.

Harbaugh was asked to clarify what he felt responsible for in

relation to the media criticism directed at Jenkins.

”I’m responsible for helping pick the draft picks, fully

responsible for coaching the players up, and I willingly accept

those responsibilities,” Harbaugh said.

In July 2012, Harbaugh called out as ”clueless” those who

predicted Jenkins would be a bust before he even played in a

preseason game.

Referencing the fact Baldwin, a 2011 first-round choice of the

Chiefs, has been labeled an underachiever, Harbaugh said: ”I know

a lot of people have kind of made some sport of A.J. and Jonathan,

and my comments and that type of thing. I feel the same as I did a

year ago when I made those comments.”

The 49ers have some important decisions to make at receiver in

advance of their Sept. 8 season opener against Green Bay. They’re

still trying to identify the No. 2 wideout alongside Boldin; Marlon

Moore and Kyle Williams appear to be front-runners. Moore, a

fourth-year veteran signed as a free agent in the offseason, in

particular has helped his cause. He’s started the first two

exhibitions and has earned Harbaugh’s praise.

”There’s the physical and the mentality, you need both,”

Harbaugh said. ”He’s definitely a talented player physically, also

tough mentally. Those things are a very good combination.”

Moore said he’s simply trying to prove he deserves playing

time.

”Complacency is death, man,” Moore said. ”The moment you

think you have a spot or any kind of position, that’s when your

output declines.”

Harbaugh mentioned Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins and Baldwin as

receivers who could take over some snaps Jenkins was getting in

preseason games. Veteran Mario Manningham is on the physically

unable to perform list and will miss much of the regular

season.

NOTES: QB Colin Kaepernick has worn a black jersey the past two

days instead of the red one worn by the other quarterbacks.

Harbaugh said it’s a reminder for defensive players to steer clear

and not put Kaepernick at injury risk. LB Ahmad Brooks broke free

on a stunt earlier this week and got a little too close to

Kaepernick. . Though rookie B.J. Daniels has thrust himself into

the backup quarterback competition, Harbaugh said Colt McCoy will

be the first QB to relieve Kaepernick on Sunday. He didn’t specify

if Daniels or Scott Tolzien would be No. 3. . Harbaugh expects RB

Kendall Hunter, who hasn’t appeared in a game since tearing his

Achilles tendon in November, to play Sunday. . Rookie TE Vance

McDonald returned to practice Tuesday after an undisclosed injury

and is expected to play Sunday.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org