Jim Harbaugh’s attitude toward offseason workouts could lure free agents

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Last year, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t even meet his new team until six weeks before the first regular-season game.

It all worked out pretty well.

And so it should come as no surprise that Harbaugh is, unlike most of his peers, regarding the voluntary offseason workouts as truly voluntary.

Randy Moss isn’t there, and the team is fine with it.  As pointed out in the Saturday one-liners, Harbaugh recently told KNBR radio that other veterans, like running back Frank Gore and kicker David Akers and center Jonathan Goodwin, aren’t there, either.  Harbaugh explained that the absent players live out of the area and have family commitments.

Assuming Harbaugh wasn’t biting his tongue to the point where blood trickled down his chin when explaining the situation, it’s a refreshing attitude toward voluntary workouts.  How many other NFL coaches would be that nonchalant about players who choose not to attend and participate?

Maybe Harbaugh knows that the real work starts at training camp, that the stuff that happens now doesn’t mean anything as long as guys keep themselves in shape, and that players perhaps will be better prepared for the seven-month grind if they actually have meaningful time for themselves, and their families, in the offseason.

If the 49ers continued to succeed, Harbaugh will continue to regard the offseason program as truly voluntary, which will attract more players who have options to the 49ers.

Which could lead to more coaches regarding voluntary workouts as truly voluntary.

49 responses to “Jim Harbaugh’s attitude toward offseason workouts could lure free agents

  1. The panthers have 71 players on their roster. 71 players showed up for work outs last monday. Team chemistry starts early on. Watch out for the Panthers.

  2. If the excuse to get you out of the voluntary workouts is living “outside the area”, I would think the residing Bay players are looking to sublease and head out of town at this very moment.

  3. You know what really attracts free agents – money. Sometimes it’s okay to make a hill out of a mole pile. Not in this instance.

  4. If this works, Harbaugh will indeed be a trailblazer.
    Most people miss the fact that he keeps it real, thats highly appreciated by his players.
    The 49ers are fortunate to have a great coach like him.

  5. Last year, he was on an even playing field with the other teams; none of them got offseason work. Now he’s letting other teams tilt the field in their favor. I agree that voluntary should mean voluntary but the fact remains that full participation is more opportunity to prepare.

  6. uffhimbanano says:
    Apr 21, 2012 11:16 PM
    You know what really attracts free agents – money.


    ding,ding, we have a winner

  7. Skipping these workouts when the entire league missed them is a lot different than missing them while other orgs are going full bore. Also, a returning vet missing time is a lot different than a young / new player who needs the extra time. I suspect other teams will close the gap on them this season.

  8. call him what you want but, he knows what its like to be a player in the NFL & he wins games as a player & as a coach!! this doesn’t solely attract free agents but it sure helps, these are similar things jed’s uncle eddie would do for his players when he was the owner

  9. It would be cool for the 49’ers and the league, as it is a copycat league, if this works out. I don’t think it will for Randy Moss, as he’s been out of the league for a year and left it because he was declining, and he can use all the help he can get for making the final roster.

  10. I’d like to see how many of those Panthers have workout bonuses. If it was that simple all teams would have all of their players participating.

    They dangle a carrot (bonus) in front of the players for a reason. They have millions of reasons to stay in shape. I wish my job paid me extra to do what I’m supposed to do.

    I love the game anyway and can’t wait for the season.

    Here we go Steelers, HERE WE GO!!

  11. Last year’s lock out shotened pre-season is much different than this “normal” year……Participation will be more important to ensure everyone is really getting in shape, team chemistry starts being developed, etc……I doubt that the other teams follow suit and take such a relaxed view of this time period.

  12. These workouts are not important to anyone and certainly not important to how well a team does on the field. These workouts are about getting in shape, which the players can do while they are away. It is when the real football work start is when it is important for these players to show up. I remember back when the 49ers were losing all those years, we had 90-95% turnout for these voluntary workouts and still lost, so frankly it doesn’t matter.

  13. It’s going to be fun watching all the haters like mizzouram tear their hair out this year as the 9ers go 11-5 or 12-4 and crush their teams’ playoff and Super Bowl dreams along the way. The 49ers are back, and it’s just a matter of time until Jim Harbaugh brings the Lombardi back to San Francisco where it belongs.

  14. mizzouram says: Apr 22, 2012 12:00 AM

    I can’t wait until the 49ers go 8-8 this year.


    Funny you say that. I personally can’t wait to see the Rams earn a top 3 draft pick…. AGAIN

  15. So wait a minute… I notice a name missing from the excused list. You mean to tell me Crabtree is there VOLUNTARILY? Must be feeling some competitive heat

  16. Jim Harbaugh is gonna field a dangerous team. I saw enough last year to say to ANY team they play against SAN FRACIDCO is capable and dangerous. Look out. Even with Alex Smith or should I say in spite of him. Harbaugh is gonna get the job done. He got a yaste last year, he’s coming back for MORE. Promise

  17. Per the CBA strength and conditioning only is allowed for the first two weeks with no coaching interaction permitted. That can be done anywhere. Per Harbaugh, Moss and I’m assuming a few others will be in Santa Clara on 4/30, after the draft picks are in the fold and coaching interaction is allowed.

  18. mizzouram says:
    Apr 22, 2012 12:00 AM
    I can’t wait until the 49ers go 8-8 this year.

    You’ll have to wait for a long time. I’m sure it must suck to be a rams fan.

  19. Cant wait till the lions crush the 9ers after a whole offseason of reps for stafford and calvin and titus young and burleson and a healthy run game..not too mention a dline thats back to healthy with suh,fairley,willie young,vandenbosch,cliff avril etc..yea i said crush!! Week 2 will be fun!

  20. No comment really on Harbaughs tactics. I just find it comical that NFLPA is so against offseason workouts-especially if was going to be non-contact. Gone are the days when players had to work other jobs during the offseason to get by. With salaries as they are today, players should be expected to treat football as a full time job (year round) in terms of expected team meetings and conditioning during the offseason.

  21. let me spin this one… Had Harbaugh met earlier with his staff and team, he might have been an inch better prepared and that inch maybe would have gotten them through the NFC championship in stead of losing it..

    Vets who have been with a coach for a few years, I get that they dont need to be there But Free Agents who havent been with his new team before, needs all time he can get..

    As to Randy Moss, forget it, unless there is a rule change where you can line up a player 20 yds down the field he wont be much of a threat..

  22. Some of you seem to be forgetting that the coaching staff is not allowed to participate in these OTAs. So it’s not like Harbaugh is behind other coaches in meeting with and preparing his team. I’m sure he’s doing a ton of preparing, for the draft and the season. I think his players know that voluntary is only voluntary if you show up at mandatory camp in shape and ready to go. Harbaugh trusts his players to be professional. If his players let him down, he’ll either change his approach or find new players. I like it.

  23. trollaikman8 says:
    Apr 22, 2012 3:39 AM


    I wish,but not gonna happen. They’ll easily win the NFC West again Imo. 13-3 will be hard to duplicate,but a Div Title still guarantees one home game in the playoffs. Once you get there anything can happen ( Giants ). I just don’t see another NFC west team knocking them off.

    As a Saints fan,it pains me to say this,but you have to be fair and give the devil his due. This Niners team has been building talent for years. They drafted well under Nolan and Singletary couldn’t get them over the top.Harbaugh got them to reach their potential and with a few breaks they just might be hoisting the Lombardi this year.

    If I were a Niner fan, there would be only one thing that concerns me. They were + 28 in the turnover margin last year. In this era where there isn’t that much difference in talent from a 10-6 and a 6-10 team, the turnover stat is often the determining factor in games. They beat my Saints by generating 5 turnovers,and 2 turnovers by Kyle Williams cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.

    This big of a margin usually doesn’t happen two years in a row. If I’m not mistaken, there has never been a team in history that’s had a double digit turnover margin in the + category two years in a row. That said, they still have the best defense in the NFL and an All Pro Punter. I don’t care how good your offense is,you’re not going to constantly drive 70+ yards for a TD when you play them. If their offense can avoid turning the ball over deep in their own territory,they’ll be a tough team to beat again this year.

  24. One year does not make a HOF coach as in Hairbaugh or a championship team. Lets see how it goes..SAN FRAN plays in a weak sister division, they have had so many high draft choices they should FINALLY be competative. All this hype for mettings now on who shows and doesn’t means silch.

  25. yeah, a first year coach with no offseason… is bettter then a second year coack with a offseason… SMH you guys are just haters

  26. His stance has so many holes in it…didn’t most of those guys play with injuries? I’m sure the reason Moss isn’t there has to do with family. Come on, don’t be naive. When he finds out in training camp that his players haven’t been conditioning, then we’ll see how it goes.

  27. @staffordsyear says:
    Apr 22, 2012 2:59 AM
    Cant wait till the lions crush the 9ers after a whole offseason of reps for stafford and calvin and titus young and burleson and a healthy run game..not too mention a dline thats back to healthy with suh,fairley,willie young,vandenbosch,cliff avril etc..yea i said crush!! Week 2 will be fun!

    Can’t wait for niners dl put a spanking on those wussy cats. Suhs got to be the most overrated dl in the league.

  28. You know your team is better than there’s when the haters don’t want tell the truth that the Niners scares them a lot. We was behind the ball last year when training camp began last year and was one fumble from the Super Bowl. The only fan that kept it real was the saints fan. The rest are hinding from the truth that your teams are in trouble this year and for years to come. Keep hating . Go Niners !

  29. There are 1,000 good players in the NFL. There are 40 great players. There are 35 really good coaches including assistant coaches. There are a handful of leaders.

    Ray Lewis has a great defense because players love to play their hearts out. Peyton Manning has/had a great offense because players love to play their hearts out. Same goes for Jim Harbaugh.

    A degree from Harvard does not guarantee leadership and same goes for the NFL. Lots of coaches are hired without strong leadership.

    Jim Harbaugh makes great talent from good players. He understands people. Most coaches coach fundamentals. He does not treat players fairly, but like people.

    Why is Randy Moss not going to be a problem regardless of how bad Alex Smith plays? Because Jim Harbaugh is a leader.

  30. Id bet my left nut that the niners do better than 8-8 haters. And i dont even have my right one.

  31. briank1ne says: Apr 22, 2012 2:09 PM

    Id bet my left nut that the niners do better than 8-8 haters. And i dont even have my right one.

    You should try betting cash. It’s a lot easier to replace.

  32. I love how people love to talk but have no idea about what they’re talking about!!! 60 players are in Santa Clara right now at the 49ers team workouts, Gore has prepared in Miami every year of his career & always showed up for mini camps/training camp in great shape, & Moss will arrive on April 30th to be with the team.

  33. @hatesycophants says:
    Apr 22, 2012 1:31 PM
    Coach Doosh and the 49ers are coming back to the fold this season.
    8 – 8

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

    A lot of yapping from fans of biggest losers.
    This time harbaugh is going to punch out whiner Schwartz’s lights as niners spank wussy cats.

  34. hatesycophants says:
    Apr 22, 2012 1:31 PM
    Coach Doosh and the 49ers are coming back to the fold this season.
    8 – 8

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!


    If the Lions can fill some holes in their secondary, I believe talent wise they could play with any team in the league. That said, I’m not sold on Jim Schwartz leading your team to the promised land. The Lions were one of the most undisciplined teams I’ve ever seen during my many years of watching this game. That’s a direct reflection of the coaching staff in general.

  35. It amazes me how such a small things can cause such hostility. Here’s a different perspective and one probably closer to the truth, Randy Moss is dealing with something that he doesn’t want made public, so rather then stir up the pot Harbs, who never will tell personal stuff, gives the generic answer. Do you really think the guy who needs to prove himself is going to be flippant? If Randy is one thing it’s competitive. He knows that no one thinks that he’ll return better or the same. He has something to prove, and he will. As for 8-8 it seems like a great oppositions wish. Not impossible but as was said earlier, Harbaugh has tasted success and will expect more. Keep in mind, we didn’t use half our playbook so if anything be afraid. GO NINERS. Ps: loins have prides not whatever it was you misquoted.Lol

  36. Said this years ago. The off-season program wins no one anything.

    It was just a way for teams to unnecissarily tighten their grip on players as the years have gone by. Harbaugh understands it’s uselessness as few coaches can because he actually had a meaningful NFL career.

    Being detail oriented in April isn’t going to do you any good when it’s November, your roster is decimated with injuries and the players are looking for that same attention to detail despite all of the issues you’re facing.

  37. beeronthefridge says: Apr 22, 2012 6:32 AM

    Now I know why they lost to the giants!


    So they lost a championship game because they didn’t have workouts six months before the game took place???? Your joke makes no sense.

  38. hatesycophants says: Apr 22, 2012 1:31 PM

    Coach Doosh and the 49ers are coming back to the fold this season.
    8 – 8

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!


    Yes, because Harbaugh was the one that chased down Schwartz after that game. Schwartz did absolutely nothing wrong. Just like your coach, it’s been over six months and you’re still salty.

  39. @kingfish4242

    That is about the coolest, most honest thing I have ever heard a Saints fan post.

    I hope you are right. The 9ers spent a long time in the cellar. I hope Jimbo has the magic touch again. With a couple of remarkable draft picks this year and people over achieving on offense, the 9ers very well could repeat their 13-3 record. Only this time, I doubt Kyle Williams will be within 25 yards of that punt…

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