San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh recently took the, for him, rare step of talking openly with the press outside of a press conference. Michael Rosenberg of SI.com has an excellent article on this, if you wish to read the whole thing. As for Harbaugh’s take on the recent drama, it is quite different than what most of us have been led to believe. Some quotes:
I see all these reports about how I want to be the highest-paid coach in footbal. 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.
There are a number of excellent Harbaugh quotes from this article, so I encourage you to visit it. Harbaugh stressed that he is more than happy with the 49ers’ current front-office structure, never has sought more money or power, talks with Trent Baalke hourly–he apparently came out of a meeting with Baalke before the interview with Rosenberg–and wants to be with the 49ers, whom he called “one of the best, if not the best organization in football.”
Perhaps what peeved Harbaugh most was the constant chatter that he wanted more money. Harbaugh has never been extremely materialistic. His wardrobe is all one needs to prove that. He repeatedly stressed to Rosenberg that he makes “plenty of money.”
So what was he angling for in this interview? Well, first and foremost it would be to shut down rumors. Secondly, he did push for a raise–for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. This is the guy, remember, who said “Pay the man!” when asked about Phil Dawson‘s future with the squad. He has always been very, very supportive of those who are his own.
Rumors will continue to swirl, but if Harbaugh has anything to say about it, he’s a 49er lifer. For now, at least.