Fooch's Note: Site decorum is off.
The Jim Harbaugh 49ers drama has dragged on for two weeks now, and one common refrain has been people wanting to hear from Jim Harbaugh on the matter. He denied Mike Florio's report ten days ago, but had maintained radio silence as more reports came out speculating on front office and locker room drama. We now have official word from Coach Harbaugh.
In a fairly lengthy discussion, Coach Harbaugh spoke with Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg and provided some concrete answers to some of the questions we've heard the last two weeks. We don't get answers to everything we'd like to know, but I would like to this could finally quiet down the rumor-mongering. Well, quiet it down for at leas the short term future.
The most important point is that Coach Harbaugh said there was zero opportunity or chance in his mind in which he envisioned leaving the 49ers before the end of the two years remaining on his contract. He also spoke to the many rumors about his wants and desires as a coach. He said he's never asked
"I see all these reports about how I want to be the highest-paid coach in football," Harbaugh said. "They presume I covet some kind of extension. I have never said to anybody that I want to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never said that to anybody -- my wife, my brother, my dad. I make plenty of money.
"The other one is that I want more power. I have never said that, nor do I want any more power than I have. I coach the team. I've told my owner I don't want any more power. I want to coach the team. And I've never told anybody else otherwise."
What I found interesting was his comments about pay. He said he is not a guy looking for an extension now because in his mind, the budget has only so much money, and if he is getting an extension, it shrinks the pool for everybody else. He used that as an opportunity to suggest Vic Fangio deserves a raise, saying that Fangio has not had a raise since he got here. According to Cam Inman, the 49ers are in fact working on a contract extension with Fangio.
He spoke to the Pro Football Talk report that a deal was almost completed. Harbaugh said there was never an opportunity to leave the 49ers, and if such an opportunity did exist, "it existed in somebody else's mind, not mine." Harbaugh did not go into further detail, but in my mind, this goes back to socalisteph's discussion of David Dunn's role in the Browns situation. I remain convinced Dunn had the Browns thinking something could happen, when in reality it was just a leverage ploy.
He closed by emphasizing once again that it is his principle not to negotiate contracts in the press. He made an exception in this case to clarify that he is not hungry for more money. I am sure he would be plenty happy to take a pay raise, but hopefully this will at least quiet down the speculation that columnists and PFT have focused on for ten days. I'm not exactly holding my breath, but at least we have Jim Harbaugh on the record.
We don't know what the future holds beyond 2015, and in reality this serves mostly to hopefully quiet things down for the coming season. I'm sure this will rear its head again at some point with another volley of anonymous comments. For now though, the 49ers can hopefully head into free agency with this headache at least temporarily shelved.
When you get a minute, give the SI article a read.