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Jim Harbaugh talks 49ers, respect for Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch

The former 49ers head coach got a chance to talk about the team’s recent hires in a podcast.

We are now two full calendar years removed from the Jim Harbaugh era, but the Michigan head coach is always good for a fun quotation. He recently sat down for an interview on Tim Kawakami’s podcast, and he does not disappoint.

I recommend giving the whole 33 minutes a listen. Harbaugh and his wife recently had a son who was born seven weeks premature. The podcast opens with some discussion of that, and it is fascinating to hear Harbaugh talking about those circumstances.

However, there also is some good stuff applicable to the current 49ers. Kawakami asked him how he feels a couple years removed from his time with the 49ers. He talked about feeling the same as the day he walked out. He talked about, “the unbelievable people that we worked with,” focusing on the coaches, players, the fans, and “many of the people that worked in the organization.” He talked about thinking of them often and fondly.

Kawakami followed up by asking if the subsequent firings of Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly, and Trent Baalke offer up any hint of karma. Harbaugh initially did not take the bait. He praised Kyle Shanahan, saying, “I have great respect for the Shanahan family, and Kyle and what kind of coach he is.” He wished him well and said he was flattered when Shanahan mentioned him during the introductory press conference as part of the franchise’s great history.

At that point, Harbaugh took a modest shot. He said he did not think he was there long enough to compared with Bill Walsh and George Seifert, but offered up this amusing line:

“[B]ut I think we did, and correct me if I’m wrong, but we did set a record for coaching there the longest under the present ownership, if I’m not wrong. So, I take pride in that. Maybe there should be an endurance medal, courage medal for that.”

They then got into a brief discussion about new 49ers general manager John Lynch. Harbaugh and Lynch knew each other from the former’s time at Stanford. Lynch attended Stanford, and was an honorary captain at one point. Kawakami asked Harbaugh what kind of relationship he had with Lynch.

Well, good. Deep, abiding respect for Kyle Shanahan and for John Lynch. And would have loved to have worked for John Lynch. He reminds me a lot of the athletic director that we have here, Warde Manuel, who’s also a former player, and was a teammate of mine. Common sense guys that are team guys. Just the way they go about their business always speaks volumes. I thought John, took note of when they were going through the process of the hiring, he didn’t want his name mentioned. I think that’s, maybe a lot of people noticed that, but I think that’s a profound thing. I think that speaks volumes for who he is as a person. He wants to do a good job, and it’s for the right reasons. He’s a competitor at the highest level, so I have great respect for that.

The whole interview is worth a listen.