STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is ready for a busy week ahead with the start of free agency and is moving forward from the recent news that the Cleveland Browns inquired about trading for him.
Harbaugh, attending the Utah-Stanford men’s basketball game Saturday at Maples Pavilion with 5-year-old daughter Addison, has said he is committed to staying put with the 49ers — and to ignoring all the speculation swirling about his future.
“Great with a capital ‘G,’ ” he said of how he’s doing, adding with a smile, “You flush those things away” — signaling his hand the motion of flushing a toilet.
During halftime of the game, the coach signed autographs and greeted fans at the school where he coached the Stanford football team to a dramatic turnaround over four years before leaving for the NFL.
The highly sought-after Harbaugh departed The Farm days after finishing with a 12-1 record and a commanding Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in January 2011.
His 49ers lost 23-17 in January’s NFC championship game to NFC West rival and eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle. That was a year after the 49ers lost 34-31 in the Super Bowl against Harbaugh’s coaching big brother, John.
Harbaugh has completed the first three seasons of a $25 million, five-year deal signed in January 2011. While CEO Jed York had said he hoped to sit down with Harbaugh this offseason, it’s unclear whether there has been talk about an extension.
The 50-year-old Harbaugh reiterated it’s not his top concern in an extensive interview with Sports Illustrated published last week.
“I see all these reports about how I want to be the highest-paid coach in football,” Harbaugh told SI. “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.”
A few days after San Francisco’s season ended, Cleveland hired Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to replace Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after going 4-12 his first year. It was the team’s sixth straight season with at least 11 losses.
Harbaugh coached the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years after the 2012 season, and San Francisco missed out on the franchise’s sixth championship.
The Niners lost in the NFC championship game in Harbaugh’s first season to the eventual champion New York Giants. He earned NFL Coach of the Year honors while leading the 49ers back to the playoffs following an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth or winning record.