While the 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh have denied that there was a deal in place for him to go to Cleveland, the reality is that he and the team are involved in a complicated relationship.
And that didn’t just develop recently.
As reactions come in to Mike Florio’s report yesterday that a trade was agreed to with the Browns before Harbaugh decided to stay, more evidence is coming to light of the delicate balance the 49ers are trying to maintain.
In a lengthy and detailed look at the background between the team and the coach, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News paints a picture of Harbaugh as high-maintenance.
Harbaugh is described as “a combustible commodity who has 49ers HQ very unsettled most days and now he’s coming up on a contract extension that he really thought he deserved last year, so things are a little pent-up between coach and management.”
Kawakami paints a picture of the internal push-pull between General Manager Trent Baalke and Harbaugh, one which includes some drama but a good result for the organization.
The wins have come, but it seems that Harbaugh’s high-strung personality has worn some people out as well.
Any collection of high-achievers who are driven to win will inevitably create an atmosphere that includes some tension. But it seems that within the 49ers organization, that tension has built to a point that a future without Harbaugh has been considered.
And perhaps welcomed.