SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has shot down reports that he was nearly traded to the Cleveland Browns and that there are rifts between him and 49ers brass or his players.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Harbaugh said neither he nor the 49ers were interested in any talk of Cleveland acquiring him. “There was never any opportunity to leave the San Francisco 49ers,” he told SI reporter Michael Rosenberg. “If that existed, it existed in somebody else’s mind, not mine. I am too fond of my team, the players, the coaches,” he said.
Harbaugh also said the interview that, despite reports to the contrary, he is not seeking to leave the team after next season (a year before the expiration of his contract) and he is not clamoring for an extension, instead he hopes his assistant coaches get paid more.
Even as the 49ers have reached the NFC Championship game in each of the three years Harbaugh has coached the team, there have been rumors of friction between Harbaugh and General Manager Trent Baalke over control of the roster.
Harbaugh told SI he does not want more power over the team and said of Baalke: “”We’re both demanding and we want to be accountable for ourselves, for each other… If you haven’t had a brother, you probably don’t understand the relationship between the GM and the head coach. We’re partners on the same team. I have great respect for him.”
Harbaugh insisted he believes in the organizational structure of the team and did not want to change anything about it.