SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Rumors last month that the 49ers nearly traded head coach Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns caught many members of the 49er Empire by surprise. In the aftermath, word of a division between the front office and coaching staff surfaced. Now come new murmurs that some players are growing tired of the coach as well.
Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle reported over the weekend that Harbaugh’s “act has worn thin” among several members of the locker room. “Particularly among some key ‘face of the 49ers’ type players.”
Despite the team’s success under Harbaugh – he’s taken them to the NFC Championship game in each of his first three years – the 49ers have not yet extended Harbaugh’s contract, which expires at the end of the 2015 season.
As John Madden noted last week on KCBS, sharing the credit can sometimes prove difficult for winning teams.
If you’re in the middle of the pack or the bottom of the pack, they seem to work well together. Then as they rise up with success, not so much,” said Madden
Leadership divvying up the kudos is a good problem to have, but as Killion notes, contract talks and grumbling that extends to the locker could pose a distraction for the team as they prepare to open the new Levi’s Stadium. She says the team must either hammer out a new contract with the coach soon and hope the conflict rumors die down, or wait to see how the season plays out. If Harbaugh wins it all, he will likely be able to command whatever he wants.
Madden thinks the answer is already clear, “You tell me where they’re going to get a guy that’s any better than him? It’s a lot easier to get a suit than it is to get a coach.”