Jim Harbaugh refutes 49ers discord

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jim Harbaugh had a succinct reaction to Deion Sanders' report on the league-owned NFL Network that his San Francisco 49ers players want him gone.

"Personally, I think that's a bunch of crap," Harbaugh said in his weekly Monday news conference.

On Sunday night, after the 49ers ended a two-game losing streak by handing the Philadelphia Eagles their first defeat, Sanders went on "NFL GameDay Final" and said, "They want him out. They're not on the same page.

"I really want to know if they're really playing for their head coach. I've got a question with that. Are you really down with your head coach, San Francisco 49ers? I'm not hard to find. Because the way it looks to me and what I'm hearing, you're really not down with your head coach, and that's a problem."

On Monday morning, Sanders, who was a part of the most recent Niners Super Bowl championship team in 1994, took to Twitter to refute that 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree was his source:

To many that this may concern @KingCrab15 is not my source. My sources wears uniforms,suits and ties. #Truth

- DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) September 29, 2014Crabtree responded on Tuesday morning.

I don't know what people are talking about with Mr Deion... But we good over here!

- Michael Crabtree (@KingCrab15) September 30, 2014Harbaugh responded to Crabtree's tweet during an appearance on KNBR 680-AM. "It sounds good, and I think players should feel real good about what they accomplished this past Sunday," the coach said Tuesday.

Harbaugh said he has no ill will toward Sanders.

"When it comes to a football team, if there's people that want to divide, divide, divide on the outside, then our response is, 'Unite, unite, unite,'" Harbaugh said. "That's the way our team has always gone about it."

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who played for San Francisco in 2007, spoke of the 49ers' locker room on ESPN Radio on Monday, saying, "I do think it's become almost toxic."

Harbaugh responded with a laugh Monday, saying, "Really? I haven't seen Trent or Deion around much.

"I think ... whenever you talk about unnamed sources, if somebody's got a good story to tell, they want to put their name to it. So I don't put a lot of credibility into the unnamed source."

Offensive lineman Alex Boone came to Harbaugh's defense on the players' day off Monday.

"What's the problem? I'm confused. Is winning not good? Is business not booming right now, boys?" Boone told "The Damon Bruce Show" on 95.7 The Game. "Here's my problem with all this: If you're not in our locker room, then keep the 49ers name out of your mouth, because you have no idea what goes on in our locker room.

"Last I checked I was in the locker room and it was all smiles, and everybody was happy. Nobody was saying we want him out. I know for a fact everybody loves Harbaugh.He's a great guy, a great coach. How could you not want to win for a guy that wears cleats during a game? Have you not seen that guy's energy? He's exciting 24/7. You've got to love playing for a guy like that. That's what's football is all about."

After the season opener, when the NFL Network reported that Harbaugh was losing the locker room, the fourth-year Niners coach said he had an open-door policy that is still in effect. Asked whether any players had come to him with complaints, Harbaugh said there have not been any such "specific" discussions.

"Players have good ideas," Harbaugh said. "Coaches have good ideas. Equipment managers have good ideas. Trainers have good ideas, strength coaches. We welcome that. If we're not doing something right or there's a better way to do it, let's get it out in the open. Let's talk about it, and we're willing to do anything to fix up or make it better.

"That's the kind of relationship that we have."

Harbaugh did, however, grow weary of the conversation.

"This has gone on way too far, in my opinion," he said. "We're talking about unnamed sources."

General manager Trent Baalke, also appearing on 95.7 The Game, refuted the reports as well.

"All I know is this team is fully committed, everybody from the head coach on down, we're all-in, and we're all in it together," Baalke told the station. "We've got to continue to grind.

"... As long as we stay together, stay focused, we can't worry about what the outside world is saying. The only thing we can control is what takes place in our locker room and this building. That's all we try to focus on."

Harbaugh is in the fourth year of a five-year contract. Talks to extend his contract have been put on hold.

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