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Jim Harbaugh reportedly losing 49ers locker room

Jim-Harbaugh-Blue-Collar-49ers-ShirtsBefore the San Francisco 49ers even played a snap in the 2014 regular season, rumors of controversy within the organization were already swirling. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Jim Harbaugh could be losing his locker room.

“There is some serious doubts about whether Harbaugh is actually all in like he professes,” Rapoport told NFL Media’s Rich Eisen on Sunday morning. “He says he is about the team, the team, the team. The players now wonder, is that actually the case?

“They have dealt with a lot over the last couple years. Some of the way he’s treated them, some lack of respect. And all because they are winning, they are fine with it, but some of the players wonder, if they lose, will it all spiral out of control?”

Rapoport added that a lot of veterans were irritated by Harbaugh making the team travel all the way to Baltimore so the coach could have a joint practice with his brother John and the Ravens.

[Related: Jim Harbaugh implies Ray McDonald will be cut if guilty]

Harbaugh has two years remaining on his current contract, and it is no secret he has been looking for the team to award him with an extension. The fact that the Niners have not extended Harbaugh despite the team’s success has raised plenty of eyebrows. Rapoport wonders if this could be his last year in San Francisco.

“He does have two years left on his deal,” he said. “But it is worth asking: Is this the last year for Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco?”

Harbaugh is reportedly aware of his players’ frustration with him and called a meeting this past week in an attempt to clear the air. The Niners looked shaky in preseason, but none of that will matter if they come out firing against the Cowboys. If not, expect the drama to build in a hurry.

Jim Harbaugh implies Ray McDonald will be cut if convicted of domestic violence

Ray-McDonald-NinersSan Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested over the weekend and charged with felony domestic violence. Given that Roger Goodell recently admitted he made a mistake with the Ray Rice punishment and has changed the NFL’s policy on handling domestic abuse cases, McDonald could be out for a while if convicted. He could also wind up being released by the Niners.

During his weekly appearance on KNBR Tuesday morning, Harbaugh basically promised that McDonald will no longer be welcome with the team if he is convicted.

“I’ll be very clear,” he said, per CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco. “You ask me how I feel about domestic violence. I can be very clear about that. If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding. There’s no tolerance for that.”

When specifically asked if he meant that the Niners would not employ a player who was guilty of such behavior, Harbaugh did not hold back.

“Yes, we would not. We can be very clear,” he said. “There are going to be two principles at play here. And one is, I’ll speak for myself, I’ll speak for the 49ers: We’ll not tolerate domestic violence. The second principle, we’re firm believers in is due process. And I ask for your understanding on those two principles.”

Harbaugh’s stance against domestic violence has always been a firm one. In 2012, former Niners safety Donte Whitner said Harbaugh told the team he was willing to work through any problems players might have off the field with them, but physical abuse of a woman will not be tolerated.

“He said that we can do anything in the world and we can come and talk to him and he’ll forgive us except put our hands on women,” Whitner said. “If you put your hand on a woman then you’re done in his book. So other than putting your hands on women, you can do anything and come talk to him, and it’s true.”

It is somewhat ironic that Harbaugh’s brother John coaches Rice, but no one said the brothers have to hold the same principles and rules. McDonald will have his say in court, and we don’t know when that will be. But if he did in fact assault a woman, it seems pretty clear he will be given a pink slip.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Jim Harbaugh’s son Jay turned down job with dad to remain on John’s staff

Jay HarbaughThe Harbaughs have produced perhaps the best coaching family in football history, and it looks like the tradition is stretching to a third generation.

The head of the family is Jack Harbaugh, who was the head coach at Western Michigan from 1982-1986 and Western Kentucky from 1989-2002. His sons are Jim and John, who are currently two of the most successful coaches in the NFL. And then there is Jay, 25, who is Jim’s son and already working in the NFL.

Jay is entering his third season as an offensive coach for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens’ website describes his job as this:

Works with the offensive coaching staff, providing statistical analysis, self-scouting reports
and breakdowns of opposing defenses. Was an undergraduate assistant at Oregon State before joining the Ravens in 2012.

Jay Harbaugh got his start on Mike Riley’s staff at Oregon State. His father, Jim, helped get him the job as Riley was Jim’s coach on the Chargers. But Jay didn’t want to be one of those kids who relies solely on his father for his career; he decided to go work for his uncle with the Baltimore Ravens first rather than his dad, and he even turned down his father for a job this offseason.

“I’m in such a good place and working with such good people, I didn’t see any reason to leave,” Jay told the San Jose Mercury News of his decision.

“The last thing I’d ever seek out is a short cut. I’m not looking for a more impressive business card every two years. When you’re a coach’s son, people assume you take handouts. I want to earn everything.”

Sure, you can probably look at the kid and see the favors he’s already received. He got the Oregon State gig thanks to his dad and the job with the Ravens thanks to his family, but it seems like he is definitely earning his keep. And how funny is it that he turned down his job? Regardless of what he says, getting turned down by his son has to be at least somewhat disappointing for Jim.

John Madden on Jim Harbaugh: He’s done one of the greatest coaching jobs ever

Jim HarbaughJim Harbaugh is the first head coach in NFL history to reach a conference championship game in his first three seasons. He has led the San Francisco 49ers to an impressive 36-11-1 record over that three-year span, looking like an NFL coaching veteran along the way. As far as John Madden is concerned, Harbaugh is already one of the greats.

In an interview with Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury Times, Madden praised Harbaugh’s three-straight NFC Championship appearances and said the Niners coach shouldn’t change a thing.

“He’s doing a great job,” Madden said. “He’s done one of the great coaching jobs ever, especially with that first year and the (labor) lockout and how he couldn’t work with the players and they went all the way to the (NFC) Championship. Great coaching job.”

Madden’s Oakland Raiders lost in the AFC Championship game five times in his first seven seasons as head coach, so he knows plenty about coming up just short. Madden later went on to win a Super Bowl in 1976 and is now considered one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time. Has he offered to share some wisdom with Harbaugh?

“Hell no,” Madden said. “He’s done a lot of good things and won a lot of big games. The last thing he needs is counseling on that. The answer is you don’t do anything. People get close and try to do something. They panic and screw everything up.

“Sometimes you can be one of the best, but you don’t accept that if you don’t get the ring or win the Super Bowl. There’s a lot of good teams between the Super Bowl winner and other teams. Once the Super Bowl is over, we lump everyone into the other 31, and that’s not fair.”

Like players, coaches are ultimately judged on their hardware. But even without a Super Bowl ring, it would be tough to argue that Harbaugh isn’t one of the better coaches in the league. The Niners will likely have to pay him like a Super Bowl-winning coach in the near future whether he wins one of not.

Jim Harbaugh: Vernon Davis skipping minicamp is not the ’49er way’

Jim HarbaughThe San Francisco 49ers began their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, and Vernon Davis was a no-show as expected. Davis admitted earlier this week that he is looking for more money. The same is true for offensive lineman Alex Boone, who also skipped Tuesday’s practice.

Jim Harbaugh is unhappy with both Davis and Boone for not showing up, and he was not shy about admitting it.

“I’m disappointed in that decision for them not to be here,” Harbaugh told reporters Thursday, per CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco. “As a voluntary segment to the offseason and we appreciate those guys volunteering to make the team better. Now, it’s mandatory and wish they could’ve … (it’s) not the decision I envision being the 49er way.”

Coaches understand the business side of football. Harbaugh should know as well as anyone else that guys don’t care about the “49er way” when they feel they are not being fairly compensated. Davis may have signed the most lucrative contract ever given to a tight end in 2010, but he feels he has outperformed it.

The Niners can now fine Davis and Boone $70,000 for missing minicamp. They obviously don’t mind paying that if it means strengthening their negotiating stance. Davis is an enormous part of San Francisco’s offense, and Colin Kaepernick would love to have him back as soon as possible. Unless the 49ers cave, it doesn’t sound like Davis will be around the team’s facility anytime soon.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Trent Baalke: Rumors of friction with Jim Harbaugh are ‘totally off base’

Jim HarbaughThe word over the past several months has been that San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke don’t get along, but both have dismissed that talk.

In December, the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami reported that there was some tension between Harbaugh and Baalke. A few days later, Pro Football Talk reported that the tension described by Kawakami is real.

Harbaugh’s issues with Baalke or the organization in general appeared to manifest themselves when there was talk of the team trading the coach to the Cleveland Browns. But The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Greg Bedard spent a few days with the Niners organization and came away with the conclusion that despite clashing on some issues, the relationship with Baalke and Harbaugh remains a working one.

In fact, Baalke dismisses all the notions of friction when speaking with Bedard.

“I’ve seen so much written that it doesn’t make sense to me,” Baalke told Bedard. “They don’t know us. And to put words into our mouths is unfair. To read into it is unfair. This is a competitive business, and the only way to survive is to be highly competitive. And everyone in this organization is highly competitive, just like any other.

“It’s a highly competitive environment. We like that. That’s what we thrive on. So to say that the relationship is strained or it’s a relationship that can’t coexist is totally off base. Totally off base.”

Harbaugh similarly dismissed any issues, describing the relationship as “healthy” and “successful.”

Maybe they really are just two competitive guys who happen to clash at times the way many co-workers would. Or maybe they’re good at masking the issues.

But the real way to show that there aren’t any problems will be for Harbaugh to finally sign a contract extension with the team. Why would they shop him to Cleveland if they weren’t OK with him leaving?

Helmet smack to Around the League

John Harbaugh describes Super Bowl postgame handshake with brother Jim

John-Harbaugh-Jim-HarbaughJohn Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh said very little to each other on the field after the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Considering they are two of the most competitive people in sports, that did not really surprise anyone. What might surprise you is that Jim wouldn’t let John hug him.

John was honored at Miami University (Ohio) over the weekend when he was inducted into the school’s Cradle of Coaches. At his reception, he told the 260 in attendance the story about his and Jim’s famous postgame handshake. The Ravens’ website has video of him sharing the story.

“I walk up across the field to shake his hand, and he’s a big, strapping guy,” Harbaugh said. “I look at him and I’m going to give him a little man hug, a little bro hug to say congratulations…”

Harbaugh then demonstrated the exchange with a person who was sitting next to him, showing how Jim gave him a stiff outstretched arm when he tried to go in for the hug.

“It was like then he says, ‘There will be no hug!’” John joked.

Remember, John also went on David Letterman after his Super Bowl victory and said he had yet to speak with Jim after the game. That was nearly a week later. We’re not surprised Jim wasn’t in the mood to get sentimental after losing the biggest game of his life.