SBD/February 25, 2014/Franchises

Questions About Relationship Between Harbaugh, Front Office Enveloping 49ers

Harbaugh (l) and Baalke (r) were both described as "hard-driving individuals"
Smoke has been "billowing ... for a while" around 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's future with the organization, and it appears the situation is "stumbling right into the fire pit," according to Ann Killion of the S.F. CHRONICLE. CBS Sports over the weekend reported Harbaugh has a strained relationship with both GM Trent Baalke and President Paraag Marathe. Anyone "remotely shocked" that there may be friction between the various parties "simply hasn't been paying close attention to the story." Harbaugh "likes power" and "doesn't have as much as he wants with the 49ers." Harbaugh can be described as "combustible and competitive," and a close relationship with the "tightly wound Baalke always seemed somewhat implausible." Additionally, the fact he "might have little time" for either Marathe or 49ers CEO Jed York "is believable." Killion: "Harbaugh has done things that infuriate the 49ers. ... But, good football coaches are usually pains in the rear." Harbaugh's contract expires after the '15 season, and Killion writes, "The 49ers have a window of opportunity. A good team. A great coach. And a smart, young boss in York who has to figure out how to make this complicated puzzle work" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/25). In San Jose, Tim Kawakami writes Harbaugh and Baalke have had a "little cold war for quite some time, and they've worked through a lot of it already, at least for the short term." Additionally, sources said that Harbaugh and York "continue to have a solid relationship." Kawakami: "Now it comes down to how the 49ers manage through it, and that's mostly up to York" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/25). Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Ray Ratto said Harbaugh wants a contract extension that is so big that York is "powerless to basically prevent him from steamrolling Baalke." Ratto: "I don’t think Jed is there yet, either monetarily or organizationally" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 2/24).

WEARING OUT HIS WELCOME? NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said there "certainly is tension" between Harbaugh and Baalke, two "hard-driving individuals who work extremely hard" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 2/24).'s Don Banks noted, "It's pretty clear there's more than creative tension. ... That's a very combustible situation" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 2/24). Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman said, “Look, Harbaugh is a horse’s ass. He’s not an easy guy to get along with in any way.” Author Jeff Pearlman: “Jim Harbaugh has become an insufferable presence. After a while that wears on people. A lot of coaches ... eventually wear out their welcome and the fatigue factor settles in” (“Rome,” CBS Sports Network, 2/24). CBS' Doug Gottlieb said, “He wears everybody out. Everybody hates him despite their success" ("Lead Off," CBSSN, 2/24). 
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