Look, nothing Jim Harbaugh is going to say throughout this training camp is going to compare to the press conference in which he talked about being reborn and said "womb" a whole bunch. It's just not going to happen. But it's always interesting when he talks to the media (even when he barely has anything to say.) As you can expect, he didn't say "womb" very much on Friday but he did have an interesting tangent when asked about his contract talks being tabled.
Harbaugh called it "refreshing" multiple times. He said it should be refreshing for the fans and the media, and that's it's great that he and the organization are on the same page. He was also asked about it setting an example for the players -- pursuing a contract extension with two years remaining on a deal -- and said that running for a new contract would drive the players "to the watercooler."
I think this logic is a little flawed, given that the team itself clearly wants to get him signed to a new deal. Nobody had the perception of Harbaugh demanding a new deal or even requesting one. To me, extending Harbaugh now is the same thing as adding a couple years onto the contract of Anthony Davis or something along those lines. But hey, Harbaugh has his own opinion and his is certainly more important than mine.
Here's the full transcript of his press conference below:
"Just had a very nice conversation with [former 49ers DT] Leo ‘The Lion's' daughter. Leo Nomellini's daughter. What a great football name that is, isn't it? Leo Nomellini."
Have you gone around and looked at some of these old photos that are on the wall?
Any jump out at you? Some of them really haven't seen the light of day in a long time.
"Yeah. The one that jumps out is the first win. San Francisco's first win. That was a favorite. We put that one in our locker room in our player lounge."
What did you learn about Leo just now?
"Just was having a nice visit. We met our family, some folks from Chicago. One of the gentlemen pointed out that he appreciated all the efforts in Chicago. I said, ‘Thanks a lot. I don't hear that very often.' "
49ers CEO Jed York said yesterday that you guys have tabled contract talks until the end of the season. Why is that the right thing to do?
"Isn't that refreshing? It has to be refreshing for you, refreshing for everybody in our building, refreshing for our fan base that the concentration will be on the 2014 season, and our goals as a football team and achieving those goals. That's the 49er way that I subscribe to. As I've stated on the record these past months, and this past week, that all focus is on the 2014 season and achieving our goals. Now, the organization and I are in lockstep and all energy, all focus is on achieving our goals."
Jed, I guess, also said that you expressed to him you didn't want to go over the contract to set a precedent since you have two years remaining. Is that correct and what exactly--?
"That's another thing that I'm on the record for. Expressed that last summer. When we talked about, I was presented with a new contract, it's just my feeling, it's just a principle, just a value. When you're the leader of the team and you're running in for a contract extension every couple years, it has a tendency to send everybody else running for the water cooler."
With the lack of a long-term commitment between you and the team, at some point later in the season when colleges and NFL teams might start looking for coaches, it does lead to that becoming a distraction. Is that not an issue and not something you're worried about?
"All focus is on the 2014 season and accomplishing our goals. I understand your speculation. I think you can afford to get out in front of your headlights more than we can, that are in this trying to accomplish our goals. So our energy, our focus is on the 2014 season. I think it's very refreshing."
Is WR Michael Crabtree going to be practicing today?
"Not today, no. He's working through something."
Nothing serious regarding--?
"No, probably a week. Maybe a week, maybe two weeks. Same for [WR] Brandon Lloyd. Minor."
Is it related to his Achilles?
"Are we going to go through every body part until you get the right one?"
I think those are the only two that people are most concerned about.
"Not the foot, not the Achilles."
Is this just preseason, training camp precaution, basically?
"No, he's got something he's working through. Got to get it 100 percent."
Is C Marcus Martin or LB Aaron Lynch ready to go today?
"Soon. Marcus Martin participated in individual drills yesterday and he'll do that again today. He's progressing and the time he's back at full form will be soon. Today, tomorrow, soon."
Has that delayed start for him into camp, what does that put him behind in terms of catching up with G/C Daniel Kilgore and the competition?
"Well, he's put in a lot of good work since the time he was drafted with the OTAs and the minicamps. He's been outstanding in the meetings. Sat in the meeting yesterday. He was making calls and understanding it. So, it's a little later start than he would have liked, but he'll be back in there soon. It's possible to get caught up."
TE Vernon Davis didn't participate much during team drills yesterday. Why was that?
"I saw something there and wanted to make sure we were on the safe side. Talked to him, wasn't loosening up quite the way I would have like to have seen. So, just on the cautious side there."
What kind of feedback have you gotten from K Phil Dawson and P Andy Lee about kicking in here so far because they've been every other day in camp, right? Coming over here and kicking in the stadium.
"Yeah. Talked to Phil about it and he's encouraged. He feels like it's going to be a great place to kick. It's part of the process. We've got to get used to it. We've got to get used to the new stadium, new wind, new grass, everything. We can mark our territory soon as we possibly can. Get used to it as much as we possibly can before we play our first game there."
Do you have any indications how that wind is going to play? You've been on that practice field for three years, but do you have an idea how it's going to play in there as far as for the kickers, for the quarterbacks?
"They're talking about it, they're looking, they're trying to get keys. Where the flags blow, getting the reference point, then find out what it's doing on the field. Is it exactly the same as what the flag is? Sometimes it's opposite. Sometimes it swirls. So, that's part of the process of getting used to it."
Does a quarterback take into account the wind? Is that something that a quarterback needs to kind of keep an eye on as well?
"Yeah. We're pretty used to it. Our practice fields face the same way as the stadium field does and we practice at all different times to try to get, mainly to get the feel of playing at all different times, East Coast games, Thursday night games, Sunday games, Monday night games, etc. So, I think that's part of it, same type of elements in terms of grass and wind the quarterbacks will experience. The practice field is the same as the stadium. Now, the thing that will be different is a big stadium. Big scoreboards and stands, etc. Just see how the wind affects that. It will be very interesting."
The first sporting event is tomorrow night. Any chance you're going to take in the soccer game and see how it is?
"Yeah, possibly. Kind of talking to my wife about that. It's my fault, and she pointed out, I haven't been communicating with her very well and I need to do better with that. So, that was one of the things on the agenda. Were we going to go to the soccer game? We may have [former NFL coach] Coach [Dave] Adolph is in town, so we may have him over for dinner to see the kids tomorrow evening. So, I've got to get that nailed down. I've been remiss. I've got to do a better job communicating."
Was it by design that you guys are practicing North and South so that they'll go the same way as the field?
"Yes. Same as most stadiums go North and South. There's been times where we've in the offseason rotated it just to get wear different grass patterns so we have good field surface for the entire season. You like to get a football field facing North and South."
Most stadiums in the NFL face North and South?
"Most stadiums in the NFL and the United States and the world face North and South, that I'm aware of. There may be a few exceptions. That's a good trivia question."
What have you seen from S Eric Reid this camp and what goals or growth in his game would you like to see in year two?
"He's very good, very confident, but not cocky. Striving to get better every single day. I had the same discussion with [S] Antoine Bethea today. That's his mindset. And he said, ‘better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.' Let me give you a hug. Give you a big hug for that. That's where Eric is as well. So, the good thing is he's doing everything for the second time. Everything that he did last year he did for the first time, unchartered waters. Now, everything that he does he's doing it for the second time. And it's been my experience that that's when a player makes his greatest leap, his most growth in his entire career is going from the rookie year to the second year. Know that's my experience from coaching college football. A player going from the freshman year to the sophomore year. That 12 months, that nine months that they have between the ending of the freshman year to the beginning of the sophomore year, that's when they can make their greatest leap in their entire career."
Yesterday during punt coverage drills, you guys were on the far field, I'm just trying to get your perspective on it. Who was doing well as the gunners, blocking the gunners, aside from S C.J. Spillman. DB Jimmie Ward, CB Dontae Johnson, what are you seeing out of those guys that are going to play that role?
"Good. [WR] Chuck Jacobs, there's several guys that are competing there. C.J. Spillman, there's a long group of guys that do extremely well at that position and are fighting for it because they know that's the way to contribute. You make the special teams better, you're a core player on the special teams, you may or may not be a starter, but if you can contribute as a core special teams player, then you have a chance to at least be a back-up player and hone your skills and become better as a player and then elevate to a starter. But it gives you that chance, gives you that chance to make the team and contribute to the success. All those positions are hotly contested."
That's what DB Daryl Morris did last year.
"Daryl Morris, yep, another one, [WR] Kassim Osgood. They're all fighting for those jobs, they like their jobs. And then vice versa, young football player, rookie football player, somebody trying to make the team - [WR] David Reed - they've got to go take another man's job away from them, and that's powerful motivation. And then you have the player that really likes that job, and these guys do, they really like their jobs and they want to keep them. They don't want anybody else to have that job. It's iron sharpening iron, it's constantly pushing each other higher. That bodes well for our football team that we have quality players at those positions as well."
How much of a decision to sign RB Alfonso Smith was related to what he'd done on special teams with the Arizona Cardinals?
"That was definitely a consideration, no question about it. As you know, [former 49ers RB] Anthony Dixon was a fabulous special teams player for us. There's an old saying in football, ‘the more you can do, the harder it is for the team to let you go'. The guys are aware of that."
Special teams: Does LB Blake Costanzo look similar to what he was in 2011 when he was here?
"He does, he does. Blake's doing a great job and we know what's inside of him, we know what he's capable of doing on the football field. He's got the license and ability to compete for a spot as well. As you can see, you start talking a lot of names here. I made the comment a week or two ago, very pleased with the way this roster's assembled. Bodes well for us. We have good football players."
I think LB Shayne Skov was playing with the second-team defense a lot more yesterday. Was that due to an injury to LB Nick Moody or you just looking at different configurations there?
"Nick, same kind of thing, felt something. Talked to him yesterday and he felt like he was going to see how it was today. Felt like he could give it a go, and if not he'll be back within a day or two."
How has Shayne looked?
"Good, good. You can imagine, I keep an eye on that position. The same I look at [No.] 44, I look at [No.] 48. Really proud to report that they're both doing a heck of a good job."
What is the status of TE Garrett Celek's back injury?
"It was set out to be some time, give some time to quiet down. It's a disc issue. Dr. Harbaugh is not as expert in his injury. Wait and see."
Any updated on RB Marcus Lattimore?
"No, no, same as the last time we talked."
Is there going to be a point where you say, ‘Well, he's not going to be able to play in the preseason?'. I mean, are we there yet?
"Well, I thought I said it as clearly as I possibly could last week at some point. Can't remember the day. There's a percentage that it needs to get better. He's working very hard toward that. Going to do the best for him. Marcus is going to be a part of this team, some form or fashion. I know what he's got inside him and I know what he's capable of doing on the football field. We all do. We'll continue to do what's best for him and ultimately that'll be what's best for the program."
Glenn Dorsey, another year in the system playing nose tackle for the second time, what strides have you seen from him?
"Did you know it was his birthday today?"
I did know it was his birthday.
"Is that why you ask? Happy birthday, Glenn."
Defensive line don't get all the pub but just seeing a guy going after it again for the second time, your thoughts on his growth in this system?
"It's been A-plus, plus. What a great thing having him last year. Fit in so seamlessly with that group of talented defensive lineman. Was a great contributor, a starter for us. Known friend and trusted agent. Just thank him for being good, thank him for being who he is and how he goes about his job. He's a team guy all the way."
Why did you switch up the schedule today? The practice schedule?
"In what regard?"
You go at 5:00?
"5:00? 5 o'clock. Like I mentioned earlier, like to have the practice times at different times. There will be a time where we play at 5 o'clocktime here. There's times we'll play a 1 o'clock game here. There's times we'll play a 10 a.m. game here because we're playing a 1 o'clcok game back on the east coast. Times where there's night games, play an 8:30 game back somewhere on a Monday night that's 5 o'clockhere. Try to mix it around. Feel like the guys will be practiced and prepared at any time, anywhere that they have to play."
Are you going to kick a field goal today?
"Am I going to kick a field goal?
Yeah, I think it was at this practice a couple of years ago, you had an attempt?
"Oh, you're thinking that we were going to have a mock game situation?
Yeah, at the end of the ...
"No, not going to have that [laughter."
"I don't know if that was a mock situation. It was a fake field goal. The kicker wasn't on the field so I ran in and slipped. Had the tennis shoes on, that won't happen. If it does happen, the cleats will be on. I had a thought. It's interesting, one other thing just to point. You all know [head groundskeeper] Matt Greiner, the phenomenal groundskeeper for the San Francisco 49ers? When you get a chance, take a look at the new goal posts that have been erected there. The goal post with the 5-feet higher uprights. That was delivered in boxes with no directions, and screws and bolts that did not fit the holes. After about 10 hours of work, Matt Greiner and three other guys, they got it done and they got it up and they accomplished the mission, and you'll see it. Beautiful field goal posts that are now out there. One more thing you might want to check out if you get there early, never seen this before. [RB] Jewel Hampton kicked a 50-yard field goal yesterday as a straight-toe kicker without a blocked toe, either, just his normal running cleats. Never seen somebody do that other than a kicker. Might have a chance to check that out. Just reminded me when you said something about the field goal."
Do you have any feelings about the fact that a soccer team is going to play the first game and not your team? You know, it's not going to be a preseason game, it's going to be a different sport. Does a part of you wish that you guys were going to be the ones to christen the field?
"No, not at all. We know the fellas over there pretty well with the soccer team. Know how important this game is to them. They're playing a rival. Be great to get things kick-started. Let the games begin."
Qualcomm Stadium .. East-West?
"Is it? Did you just Google that?"
No, I was thinking, because you played in it, right?
"Yeah. I think it's North-South. I think it might be East-West. Just trying to think of where the ocean is."