Jim Harbaugh: No malice intended in sideline collision


Earlier Tuesday, Mike Florio reported that a 49ers spokesman told him that the NFL has not contacted the team yet regarding an investigation into what happened during a sideline collision between Seahawks player Jeremy Lane and a member of the 49ers organization during the NFC Championship Game.

During his Tuesday press conference, coach Jim Harbaugh said he thought that there had been contact between the league and General Manager Trent Baalke about the play. Harbaugh hasn’t spoken to the league, but offered his testimony based on being right next to the collision and seeing it happen.

Harbaugh called it a “bang bang” play and said that he didn’t think there was any malice intended on the part of the 49ers employee, who he said was not a player but would not further identify during the press conference.

“You don’t know which way to go other than to hold your ground and protect yourself.” Harbaugh said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “His reaction would have been mine as well. I would welcome to be called and say the same thing on the record.”

Barrows reports that the 49ers employee is believed to be an assistant strength coach.

83 responses to “Jim Harbaugh: No malice intended in sideline collision

  1. I don’t like Harbaugh but I agree. You have to brace yourself, and bracing yourself makes it look like he was delivering a blow. Keep in mind the guy ran right into him. It’s not like he moved to level the guy or anything. Nothing to see here.

  2. I remember seeing it on the replay, and I am stunned anyone is making a huge deal out of it.

    What I believed happened here was a much faster and more violent version of something that happens to everybody: someone is coming directly at you, both people move to get out of the other’s way, but they accidentally move in the same direction.

    In you or I’s case, it leads to a couple of awkward “excuse mes”. In this case, it was a little more violent.

    But no less accidental, IMO.

  3. What a load of crap from a guy who owns a crap factory. Even with his season over, his dreams flushed and team literally beaten down, he maintains this “we didnt do anything” kind of attitude.
    Anyone who has seen the footage can see Lane being clotheslined by a large guy in sweats, with NO attempt to, I dont know, say move 2 feet back. What really seals the deal is the reaction of the attacker, looking down like “Yea, eat that…” Just another cheap shot move by a real cheap shot kind of organization. 49ers and theyre fans deserve to have some time off, so enjoy watching the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Good luck to the injured girls, I mean 49er players, from the beat down the other night. Get well by next year so Seattle can break more of your bones.

  4. The employee CLEARLY did not attempt to move out of the way. He gave him a forearm shiver. End of story.

  5. Clearly lying .. The dude closed line an unsuspecting opponent who was trying to run back into play bc his niner like every team forced the player out of bounds ..

    This is complete bs that dudes getting a 100k fine and the team I hear might lose a draft pick .. For all the complaining of calls that is one of the best gunners on a record setting coverage unit . He would have been down field with the possibility of recording the ensuing fumble forced by the other gunner . Not saying he gets it but that directly influenced the play and game .. And sf scored that drive .. For all the complaining from whiners this is malicious and has no business in sports ..

    Unsuspecting playing getting body checked CAUSE SERIOUS INJURIES .. Talib anyone .. This was much worse who expects to get blindsided by a person not IN THE DAMN GAME.. My Seahawks talk crap.. But this IS CRAP … There are a few unspoken rules this kind if thing CAN NOT HAPPEN..

    And how the ref whose sole responsibility is to watch this guy is JUST AS OBVIOUS AS THE BOWMAN PLAY… His only job is to watch this guy on that play … How he
    Didn’t see this is beyond any level of comprehension .atleast bowman wasn’t being spyed by the referee ..

    Truly a classless move and no the down marker didn’t trip him he started falling before it and took a direct impact towards the field or play no down marker stops a man sprinting from his forward momentum ..

  6. From the video, it doesn’t look like Lane was necessarily planning anything but it does kinda look like he seized an opportunity when it arose.

  7. They might have worked harder to get out of the way on his own sideline, but no good will come from running downfield and out of bounds at full speed on either one.

  8. Given the outcome of the game, this is not worth the time being given to talk about it. If it was intentional, and if it gave an unfair advantage to the 49ers, and if the 49ers had won the game by 1 point, it’d be worth discussion.

  9. The frame by frame shows a different story. He watched the guy running toward him and not only didn’t get out of the way, he appeared to step forward into him. Watch his feet, and watch Lane’s head as he reaches him.

  10. Doesnt look like a big deal but why would Harbaugh comment on the video that he saw of the play? Does the guy have some kind of diplomatic immunity? If its a story – go ask him what happened and then move on.

    Makes sense to me that the right thing to do is to brace yourself and not move as the running guy will likely try to avoid contact and if you move too, and guess wrong, you’re likely to make it worse.

  11. Where is Gödel and his 100000 dollar fine and a draft pick. if you call one team out than give it to all. Odd how Hairbaugh can say nothing was meant but Tomlin gets the fine. Hairbaugh as already flagged for his action on sidelines and this is the second accusation.

  12. The forearm shiver was instinctive, but since there was no harm there was no foul…..I doubt that the league will see it as instinctive, however.

    I bet it isn’t anything more than a minor reprimand type of deal and we all just move on.

    My guess is that Lane didn’t even feel it due to his focus.

  13. Aren’t there rules that govern how close to the sideline people are permitted to get and who may be on the sideline? I know that there are provisions for players running out of bounds and coming back in so it is not like the scenario has never been addressed. What if a team lined their entire sideline, right up to the in bounds line, from end zone to end zone to impede any opposing player? Surely a league that fines people thousands of dollars for wearing the wrong socks has considered this issue.

  14. CLOSELINE!!! SIMPLE!!! Harbaugh is a LIAR!!! and this is typical of his niner team.. Tons of respect for guys like Justin smith and Navarro bowman and Patrick willis and Whitner but guys like this CLOWN strength coach (who based on his actions should be banned from the NFL for LIFE) and Boldin (who before these playoffs I COMPLETELY respected) Headbutting people, and Kaepernick (Complete PUNK and polar opposite of Russell Wilson) this team will always lose the Karma battle!!! I will say this though, I wouldn’t of wanted to play anyone else for the right to represent the NFC in the SUPERBOWL!!!!

    Seattle 35
    Denver 21

    GO HAWKS!!!

  15. He was off balance and stumbled into a person on the sideline. No harm, no fowl. Get it Seahawk fans?

  16. Since he wasn’t a player in the game, don’t be surprised if the King County DA decides to press assault charges against him.

  17. The strength coach definitely didn’t try to move, he braced, then leveled the out of bounds player during the play, then gave him the stare down afterward…. no question.

    Intentionally leveling a player that’s been forced out of bounds during a play? I dunno for sure, but sounds to me like it should have been a penalty

  18. The Niners had their moments during the game, and we had our moments. I wish people would stop expecting players, coaches and team staffs to be all Emily Post, during a game. This is football for crying out loud, not golf or lawn bowling.

  19. Quit letting gunners run through the other teams bench to get downfield! It’s dangerous enough for both that player and other people not looking at what’s going on (players looking at pictures, coaches diagramming something etc) in a regular game but then you add the level of animosity that these two teams (and many other rivalries) have for each other and nothing good can come from it.

    If you want to ensure that people on the sidelines aren’t involved in the play keep them there and keep the 11 from each team on the field actually on the playing field.

  20. “Like I said last week, usually a man will tell you his bad intentions if you just listen. That certainly was a cheap shot, launching, clotheslining to the neck-head area. That was a bad play. Now back in Emlen Tunnell’s day, that was legal. In our day, that’s not legal.”

    – Jim Harbaugh

  21. How is this different from what Sal Alosi (Jets staffer) did in 2010? Perhaps the video evidence is not quite as clear (a guy standing between the perp and the camera) but it’s fairly clear–Lane is running one moment and as he passes this guy, his upper body jerks back and he falls. No tripping, it was a hit to the upper body. The league fined the Jets $100k in 2010 when Alosi was caught (a little more clearly but more subtly too-bending his knee out) on tape tripping a Dolphin gunner during a punt return.

  22. Gotta fill this space with something, right? Kinda like the so-called “New Jersey bridge scandal.” If it had happened anywhere else, it wouldn’t have made the local news, but because it’s NYC, well, then….

  23. As a Seahawk’s fan, lets not become like the whiners pizzing & moaning, lets move on and concentrate on the SB. Excrement occurs…


  24. “Stand your ground?” How about taking a step away from the sideline when the action is coming toward you?

  25. To be fair if you watch it again slow it’s really hard to tell if it’s the street clothes 49er guy OR IMO he slips on the orange yardage market that’s lying in the ground there when he tried to cut back into the field

  26. Why are gunners allowed to run out of bounds to avoid being blocked. Are offense players (that are actually in the game) allowed to go out of bounds to block them? One would think that out of bounds means just that. What happens when a gunner injures someone on the sidelines.
    PS I’m taking in general, not about this one time.

  27. abqhawk…..you will have to parden me but I am not a hawks fan but I am tired of the media giving the 9ers fans (some of the most violent and classless) and the 9er team (dirty players) in general a free ride when comes to media coverage. Yes, the 9ers were a class team once upon a time but they have changed under Harbaugh’s tutiledge.

    I clearly saw a 9er team member in black sweats lean into Jeremy Lang with a vicious arm check rather than step back like he should have. Jim Harbaugh is a liar and his excuse of this incident is just another testimony to his classless demeanor.

  28. I’ve got no dog in the this fight.
    How many times have you seen a player run or get pushed out of bounds and get a fore arm thrown at him? You don’t! They reach up with both hands and slow the guy down or move out of the way.
    Intentional, doubt it. But the 49er did deliver a cheap shot regardless. Yes

    What do you expect Harbaugh to say, “Yep, we had a person on the sideline that made a poor decision, as an organization we do not condone or encourage such poor sportsmanship.”

    Before you answer that, let me make sure you know I am talking about Jim Harbaugh,
    “If you’re going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap,”

  29. I hate the 49ers, but this isn’t a huge deal to me. It’s certainly petty and even dirty, but that’s football. Fine the dude and move on.

  30. The NFL rulebook clearly states that that no player coach or personnel shall come in contact with a player in that situation. However contrary to JH ass fart way of thinking does it say stand your ground and brace yourself to hit the player. When it was originally shown on replay from another angle it did show that coach actually step up and throw an are out there to close line Jeremy Lane. It is all to often that harbaugh’s take is to complain when he thinks a team is being dirty but turn around and pull the exact same tactics with his team.

    This has been hi M.O. dating back to his college days at Michigan

  31. and as a strength coach he should be right at the sideline and able to defend himself instead of being out of the line of fire where no one gets the crap knocked out of them. the 49ers handled the loss very graciously this was handled very sherman like that is to say poorly

  32. I haven’t seen this but wasn’t this way off the field? and were not the Jets and Stealers incidents on the field or at least on the white line?
    If so, is comparing them at all rational?

  33. Lane was running at him and he didn’t know which way Lane was going to go so he didn’t know where to move? Seriously? Dumbest argument ever. He was obviously rebounding from being pushed out of bounds and headed back to the field. Weird how the 2 or 3 other players/coaches had no problem jumping out of the way with even less time to react. But this guy steps directly into him and lowers his shoulder, then stares him down after hitting him… Yeah, no intent. Give me a break. Not surprising coming from the 49er bench and not surprising for Harbaugh to try and tell EVERYBODY that has seen the play that they’re wrong and he’s right.

    The play worked out for the 49ers. Lane is the best gunner on the team and there’s probably a good chance he’d be in the mix for the loose ball after the muffed attempted reception. If Tomlin and the Steelers were penalized, the 49ers should be as well.

  34. Guy clearly threw a shot at him and gave him the stink eye afterwards. It WAS a pretty good hit after all. However, it was clearly dirty and not in the best interest of the game. Strength coach from the JETS lost his job a few years back for tripping a guy on a similar play, and he didn’t throw a shoulder into him. Tomlin got fined $100,000 for standing too close to the field, AND the steelrs could lose a draft pick. I am not saying the 9ers need to be slapped with a ton of fines, but dud should get at least what JETS dude got. Dirty shot, period.

  35. So, Lane gets blocked out of bounds, then deliberately stays 10 yards deep to elude blockers, gets lit up, and cries about it?

    The only thing missing from this being a microcosm of Seattle’s 2013 season is him suffering a horrible injured on the play, then having the “12th Ma’am” throw food at him, as he terrifies a white woman asking him what it feels like to be the NFC champ.

    I’ve never rooted for any AFC team in the Big One, but however many points the Broncos bury the PEDhawks by won’t be near enough. Not by half.

  36. ““You don’t know which way to go other than to hold your ground and protect yourself.””

    Funny how every other member of the 49ers on the sideline were able to get out of the way except for this guy who was moving the entire time. Yeah, he doesn’t stand his ground and get blown back, he trips lane and turns to follow him as he falls.
    I say fine the guy $100,000 and the 49ers have to forfeit a pick, just like Tomlin.

  37. Returner cheapshotted with no flag. Gunner cheap shotted with no flag. Sounds even to anyone not a hawks fan. What a bunch of poor winners. No wonder they are in love with Sherman

  38. Okay, I see Harbaugh… So that forearm shiver that the guy stepped into was nothing more than a “go get’m tiger!” Got it

  39. Lane was a good 5 yards into the 49ers sideline when it happened. It’s not like the 49ers guy was on the sidelines in a pre-arranged impediment. The guys we were with all commented that Lane was really far out of bounds and didn’t make much effort to get back in bounds.

  40. I am so sick of Seattle fans acting the way they are. You guys sure have a lot of room to talk when fans throw food at a player being carted off the field, Richard Sherman’s idiotic comments taking the organization to an all-time low (which already has been done), Pete Carroll stating, “that’s Richard being Richard.” Really? Who says that? Everyone in the entire nation saw that post game rant and it was absolutely ridiculous. For anyone that supports him and his actions, get a grip. He is definitely a great role model for children yelling at the tv, telling someone he is better at life than they are?! Are you fricken kidding me? And for everyone that has been hating on kaepernick, what are the reasons? What did he say or do that crosses a line? Last time I checked he took the loss on his shoulders and didn’t blame anyone else. I am so sick of people constantly ripping on the 49ers, what are the reasons? Have fun in the Super Bowl and see ya next year.

  41. Wow talk about looking it with 49er lenses!

    ” Lane ran into him, he braced himself.”

    The rest of the world seen a 49er employee made himself part of the game and delivered an elbow or shoulder that took Jeremy Lane down. I have no doubt the NFL see it and hands down 100 K fine for cheating.

  42. The classy days of Bill Walsh and Eddie DeBartolo running this team are long gone.

    It was total first class with Eddie D. Now I can’t even compare this team, as they are un- worthy and a complete embarrassment, if they keep this HC in any longer, it will only get worse. H is a complete sideshow.

    It is a circus act with him as coach and the players are just as bad, and the fans have become the most arrogant and delusional of all.

    What a great time it was with Eddie D and Walsh at the helm, now we have nothing than a team that is corrupt, phony and has zero class.

    Starting with Tattoo Boy, who doesn’t practice the verses on his arms, or does he even read the them? Too busy worshipping himself by kissing his body and disrespecting other players. I guess the Golden Rule doesn’t apply to him.

    Give Mike Holmgren a call, and draft Manziel, and start fresh. Or make a bold trade for a QB.

    Hopefully, this garbage will end in the new stadium, and the 49ers will realize who is ruining this franchise.

  43. Seattle fans crying foul over a play well out of bounds in which a Seattle player ran into a stationary and unaware 49ers employee is like the Watergate burglers crying foul because someone turned on the lights.

    I loathe both teams in the Super Bowl, but Seattle fans are quickly pushing the uninterested into rooting for Denver.

  44. The assistant coach needs to be fired and an example made. The 49ers need to set the example not cover-up for the assistant coach. This is a game and the rivalry is starting to get out of control. Next, you will have fans beating up fans. It’s time to come down from the brink, and respect opponents again.

  45. The Player is trying to stay in the field of play…he does not want to go any further out of bounds…so step back and get out of the white paint! That’s what it’s for!!!

    This is BS…he could have easily moved.

  46. The issue is letting gunners run through the sidelines to get down field. Stay in the field of play and things like this won’t happen. I’m sorry but if I’m back on the sidelines and someone is running at me full speed, if I don’t have time to get out of the way, I’m bracing myself for a hit. That’s what the guy did. He may have had a smile about it afterward but I don’t think he planned this thing out. Rules need to be changed to prevent gunners from running out of bounds

  47. 1967forever says:
    Jan 21, 2014 6:14 PM
    “Stand your ground?” How about taking a step away from the sideline when the action is coming toward you?
    What about not running down the sideline 8 yards out of bounds

  48. I absolutely love all of the comments about “he was 7,8,9,10, and even 15 yards out of bounds and even the better ones of Why did he run out and gunners should not be aloud to run out of bounds. For the first set of commentators, please watch the replay and you will clearly see that he was not that far out and for the second set of people who obviously do not know anything about football, 1 he was pushed out and 2, he was pushed out… Good lord it is like these people watch curling all day and then come into a football comment section and start asking questions that a 10 year old could answer

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