Deion Sanders says 49ers players want coach Jim Harbaugh to go. Harbaugh says it’s a bunch of crap. The jurors (i.e., the players) are beginning to chime, and the early verdict is . . . .
“He’s the best coach I’ve ever been around,” tackle Jonathan Martin said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “Even though he might be cheesy at times with slogans and sayings, his enthusiasm rubs off on players. And his record speaks for itself.”
Of course, Martin would be likely to say that, since Harbaugh coached Martin at Stanford and helped resurrect Martin’s pro career after he decided to walk out on the Dolphins as the result of intense bullying in 2013. But Martin, who said he has seen no evidence of discord, wasn’t alone.
“Everything’s great,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “I mean, we play, he coach. We can’t really control anything else.”
(It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s also no evidence that players want Harbaugh gone.)
Ditto from punter Andy Lee: “I don’t see that anywhere in this locker room. From my point of view, everything is normal.”
And from linebacker Michael Wilhoite: “His attitude is the attitude we take. That toughness, that grind, that grit — it’s been bred in us since I first got here. It was known we were going to be tough. It was known we were going to have a callous that we had built up. It was known that we were very physical, we ran the ball, we stopped the run, we played good football and we were disciplined.”
So maybe Deion is simply wrong. Or maybe there’s a small pocket of malcontents who won’t complain about Harbaugh on the record.
Or maybe Deion is playing a psychological game with one of the various teams for which he once played, like Tom Jackson once claimed he did when picking the Jets to lose to the Patriots in the playoffs.
Regardless, Deion’s “report” that the players don’t like their coach seems to be galvanizing the 49ers. Maybe in February Harbaugh will snub Deion after winning the Super Bowl like Bill Belichick once did with Jackson, who had proclaimed in September that the Patriots players “hate their coach.”