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
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
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
”Complacency is death, man,” Moore said. ”The moment you
think you have a spot or any kind of position, that’s when your
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
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