Harbaugh suggests York forced him out

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The joint press release said “mutual parting.”  But it sure looks like former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t truly see it that way.

Harbaugh recently explained his return to Michigan to Michael Rosenberg of SI.com.  The article from Rosenberg, with whom Harbaugh has gone on the record at least twice this year, says this about the divorce:  “[Harbaugh] leaves a situation in San Francisco that got needlessly ugly, with the owner, Jed York, ultimately forcing him out.”

There’s no quote attributing that sentiment to Harbaugh, but it’s written as if it’s factual by a guy who interviewed Harbaugh extensively.  Rosenberg then mentions that he floated a theory to Harbaugh about the unnamed source from the 49ers who spread tidbits that reflected poorly on the coach:  “When you are painted as something you’re not, you want to go where people know who you are.”

“There is probably something there,” Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh’s words come nearly 10 months after word leaked of the Browns nearly trading for Harbaugh, and Harbaugh insisting unequivocally to Rosenberg that Harbaugh would finish his five-year commitment to the 49ers.

Zero opportunity or chance of that in my mind,” Harbaugh said regarding the possibility of leaving the 49ers before the end of the 2015 season.  (He may need to recalibrate his “zero opportunity or chance” meter.)

Rosenberg also has written a column sharply critical of York for his handling of Harbaugh.  Reading the various items together, it’s obvious that Rosenberg has become Harbaugh’s hand-picked ally for the effort to get the coach’s version of the truth to the public.

The coach’s version is that he didn’t want more money or power, that he worked at the will and pleasure of the organization, and apparently that the owner eventually forced Harbaugh to leave.  The team’s version is that both sides wanted to part ways, that differences of football philosophy emerged, that the team wants to “win with class,” and/or that there were reasons that are private and personal that the team has agreed not to disclose — even though someone with the team was leaking more than garden hose that had been run over by a lawnmower.

The truth surely resides somewhere in the middle.  Unfortunately, no one may ever know exactly what it is.

91 responses to “Harbaugh suggests York forced him out

  1. York can’t miss with his next hire. He’s already been thrown to the wolves. Add a few subpar seasons in and that shiny new billion dollar monstrosity might be pretty empty on Sunday’s.

  2. “Rosenberg also has written a column sharply critical of York for his handling of Harbaugh. Reading the various items together, it’s obvious that Rosenberg has become Harbaugh’s hand-picked ally for the effort to get the coach’s version of the truth to the public.”

    By this speculative logic and the tone of your articles involving Harbaugh over the last ten months, one could argue you are York’s “hand picked ally” to get his word out to the public.

  3. Here’s how you can hold that dork accountable…

    Win a Super Bowl within the next 5 seasons or forfeit the team back to your Uncle.

  4. Let’s not forget that Rosenberg is a bonafide Michigan homer that lives in Ann Arbor.. Not positive he does PR for UM on the side?

  5. As I said in another thread, you wonder which of the sides GM/owner and Harbaugh fell on these issues:

    -Playing guys like Aldon Smith or Ray McDonald with the off field issues they have/had looming. Smith playing 3 days after driving into a tree while drunk (in the AM no less) and McDonald with his domestic situation

    -Picking Kaepernick over Smith

    Chances are the choices made on second one are the genesis of the discord/mistrust/bad blood between the two parties over the past few years ago now and probably each side had a different take on the first point as well.

  6. Harbaugh took a team w/o a top-20 QB to the NFC championship game 3 straight years. A team that went 6-10 the year before he arrived. What coach would have done better? Did Belicheck win a Super Bowl w/o Brady? Good luck searching for your upgrade over the next 20 years.

  7. The truth is that Jed York needed Harbaugh, but only for a short time. By bringing Harbaugh in from Stanford, it at least gave the appearance that the team was heading in the right direction. Thus selling season tickets and PSLs in a new stadium. Actually winning, and playoff success was a bonus.

  8. this is starting to remind me of the Jerry Jones/Jimmy Johnson saga. i have a feeling it’s going to end the same way for the 49ers that it did for the Cowboys with a string of mediocre-to-bad teams for the next two decades.

    perhaps Jed should give Barry Switzer a call and see if he’s available to coach next season

  9. I believe all intelligent 49er fans know that Jed York is a liar and he absolutely forced coach Harbaugh out. Jed York is a little boy in a big boy world. He’s a shame and disgrace to a once classy organization. I do believe I hate him.

  10. The team wants to win with class but they’re interviewing Rex Ryan? Rex is a heck of a defensive coach who knows his stuff but when I think of him, winning with class doesn’t come to mind.

  11. It was a mutual divorce. He doesn’t need to change his “unequivocal” comment choice. He probably would’ve held his end of the contract too if there weren’t so many leaks by both sides.

  12. Lets cut thru the chase. Harbaugh was sent out there to answer questions for all of Baalke’s questionable player personel decisions. Harbaugh was and is a coach and thats all he wants to do. York and Baalke hid from the media and made Harbaugh defend guys he couldn’t even cut. Jed is just a boy, not a man, who his Mommy and Daddy gave the team to run. He has no experience, he’s still living in the past thinking some kind of west coast offense is going to hand him Super Bowls like his Mommy was handed back in the 80’s. This kid is clueless.

    A. Good luck finding a revolutionary offense that will make you a dynasty.

    B. Enjoy the salary cap era little Jed boy. You can no longer just pay whatever you want and keep all your players. The long time 49er fans know this when Deion went from the 49ers to the Cowboys because we had a salary cap.

    C. Baalke will do whatever he can to keep getting paid Jed Dork. So these meetings you 2 have behind closed doors, he’s just agreeing with anything you say cuz he has to. He’s not your friend who will tell you like it is. My advice is go hire football people to make football decisions. Like my guy paul Allen in Seattle.

    I love you Jed York just the way you are. A LOSER

  13. Jed York is becoming less believable by the minute.
    What I get from his meetings with the press is that he didn’t think Jim Harbaugh had enough “class” to remain the coach of York’s team. Yet, if I remember correctly, Baalke’s daughter and Jed York’s tweets on Thanksgiving were a lot more classless than anything Harbaugh put out there.
    And he and Baalke gave no solid examples how they were to be held accountable – considering all the leaks generated from their offices, the decisions to keep bad apples on the team as long as the organization had a shot at a playoff berth, and the greasy relationship they had with the police to abort troublesome legal problems.

    The past month, York actions come across as despicable and classless.

  14. His probability estimate could be off by any sized numerical value that one chooses to ascribe commensurate with the complementary degree to which one ascribes to be the level of which unfair or unreasonable circumstances beyond his control were slanted against him. Which means that his estimate could be off by an infinitesimally small margin.

    Truth, about what happened between multiple parties whom of which have differing tales with no reconcilable evidence, isn’t about uncovering verifiably and completely.

    Truth, from my perspective, is that I have no reason to believe Jim Harbaugh isn’t a class individual and a class professional that can, and has every intent to, deliver a class performance and result for the University of Michigan and their football team.

  15. As a 49er fan, the only positive of Harbaugh leaving the 49ers is that I won’t have to read your articles knocking him. Your golden boy is going to the college ranks. I’m sure you’ll still write about him though.

  16. Of course by the end it was mutual. But it was clearly pre-determined by young Jed. The next few seasons will show where the success originated and how much he lost with his ego trip. You gotta feel sorry for the poor sap who takes the job and the fan base stuck listening to the clown music.

  17. Duh. Jed let $ get in the way and that ruined everything.

    Jed was heading in the correct direction, but out of nowhere he decided to emulate his father.

    How can you not pay this guy $8 or $9 million per year when worse coaches get slightly less (hi Jeff Fisher)?

  18. Don’t care why–just happy for the Big Ten and Michigan. If Harbaugh can bring UM back to playing Wolverine football and Mike Riley can fix the Huskers disappearing act in big games, the Big Ten will have 3-4 programs that can match up with anyone in the country and 3 more annually solid programs in Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

    Of course, that’s assuming Michigan State and Wisconsin don’t take a giant step back to their historic place in mediocrity. Too big a leap of faith?

  19. Jesus it’s over everyone knows what happened. But dot buy for a second that Harbaugh was an angel

  20. No one from the outside can actually know what goes on behind close doors, but what I do know is that I have never seen Harbaugh look as happy in SF as he looks in Michigan today. Something tells me this whole stinking mess is going end up on York’s lap. Karma’s a bitch!

  21. I’m embarrassed to be a 49er fan. Damn you Eddie for your greed. That opened the door for the Yorkshire to destroy this fine organization.

    Nice job you petulant boy. Uncle Eddie should show you the belt!

  22. The truth never resides in the middle. Media just doesn’t try hard enough to find the truth.

  23. I don’t even have to read it but it will be anyone’s fault BUT Harbaugh. Typical. Same with Pete Caroll and Pwrcy Harvin. It will happen when Lynch is gone next year. Harbaugh and Caroll are to halves of the same ass.

  24. Just listened to that KNBR interview with Jed York, oh my god, does he sound annoyed and petulant. The dude is an owner of a billion dollar corporation, but he just sounded annoyed, unprepared, and childish. The guy cannot articulate one specific reason why they separated from Harbaugh. Glad to see that Jim’s taking the high road on this one. Be careful what you wish for Jed…

  25. poor 9ner fans before him it was his dad and his doctor evil suits. Bay area must belonging for Debartalo jr his sister married moron and had an imbecile.

  26. “…Unfortunately, no one may ever know exactly what it is.”

    Nothing is secret nowadays: 1) Go to WikiLeaks or 2) Trent Baalke’s daughter or 3) It’s easier to wait a little bit, the 49ers’ front office will leak voluntarily. Ask Trent Dilfer, Deion Sanders, Dana Stubblefield, etc. in a few weeks.

  27. Shocking that the guy who never has had to work hard for something , doesn’t get the respect from the guy who was taught that you have to work hard to get ahead in all aspects life.

  28. My opinion is that York and Baalke wanted OC Greg Roman fired last year and Harbaugh refused even though the offense has been an ever growing problem. This issue was a major stumbling block in the contract extension and continued until the “mutual” parting of ways.

  29. If I had to bet, my assumption would be that Greg Roman was the source of the dissent in SF. Fangio’s defense masked a lot of offensive ineptitude, which is supposed to be Harbaugh’s specialty.

    The Niners were 4 downs away from a Super Bowl victory and that Cheetos eating idiot didn’t call on Gore once.

    Rumblings are that a change at OC was requested and Harbaugh refused due to his loyalty to Roman. Jim’s brother made the hard choice and reaped the rewards.

  30. Fraudbaugh got tired of being Pete Carroll’s whipping boy. Imagine being an “offensive guru” yet adamantly sticking by clueless gump OC like Greg Roman and handpicking a gimmick like Colin Kaepernick as his franchise QB. The defense is the only reason Santa Clara was any good at all recently and even Fraudbaugh admits he had little to no input on that side of the ball.

  31. Just remember what happened to the Chargers after they fired their head coach following a 14-2 season.

    Point is, they still haven’t fully recovered and I doubt the 49ers will be contenders for years to come. Deserveably so.

  32. The 49ers are in real trouble here. Harbaugh and Baalke are both strong personalities. York’s job is to find a way for them to work together, but instead of leading he succumbed to one side and forced the other out in the most underhanded way.

    Now he’s hoping to find a head coach he can control. The problem is that good head coaches can’t be controlled. That’s what makes them good.

    And three years from now he’ll fire the new head coach and Trent Baalke after they underperform and miss the playoffs every year.

    It sucks to be a Niner fan right now!!

  33. Well let me tell ya a story ’bout a man named Jed
    Fired Jim Harbaugh , sent him back to school instead
    Can’t beat the Seahawks or find a way to win
    So now he’s gonna try and hire Dan Quinn

    Don’t go Dan ; let the Niners sink into the dark abyss that is their destiny !

  34. Not sure what the truth is here. Some facts bare out like the smear campaign embarked upon by the front office, including Baalke’s daughter (that was a new one).

    Looks like a media war at this point, Harbaugh is no longer a part of the organization and he’s putting his version out there. The numbers are on his side which gives him the upper hand.

    York on the other hand, has come across as being extremely inept, inarticulate and petulant and has lost what little credibility he had with his fan base.

    I’m no 9er fan, but there’s something to be said about the appearance of fairness, equity and professionalism which seems to be lacking as the front office fumbles around for a response that will resonate positively.

  35. York has a 10 word vocabulary and his brain can’t even inform his ego that going on the airways with such a vocab and no prep is NOT a good idea. Epic fail Jed, thanks for a classic interview for the ages. Simple fact is that Mr Jed York couldn’t have known Bill Walsh like he claims in professional manner when Jed (who’s 34) was 3 years old. He has Walsh as the King and no coach will measure up to that in Jed’s eyes. A day that will forever tarnish a great organization so long as this Daniel Snyder wana be is the CEO.

  36. Harbaugh might indeed be difficult to work with, and this split may have come about from a variety of different circumstances, but I think what should worry 49ers fans the most is the number of leaks of negative information about the coach throughout the season.

    People leak information all of the time, but the sheer about released seemed like an attempt to constantly smear the coach, which really shows a childish maturity on the part of the front office and owner.

    Even if they all hated each other in private, there is no “class” in how Harbaugh was treated through those never named sources. Unfortunately, the ones who could not keep some “class” and dignity about their business are the ones who get to choose the next coach.

  37. What ever it was that Jed had over Jim must have held some weight…I don’t see Jim just getting forced out…he’s the type of dude that you have to fire…

  38. The reason why us fans refuted and couldn’t believe these stories and leaks earlier this year is because nobody believed the 49ers front office was that idiotic. on the other hand, we had gotten accustomed the last couple years of the media trying to paint Harbaugh in a negative light at every chance. So it was way more believable that the national media was trying hard to bury Harbaugh and bury the 49ers. We are used to the refs and media taking a s— on our team’s best efforts and we would never suspect our own front office to sabotage this team.

  39. Seriously…welcome to the real world, if you don’t get along with your bosses eventually you’re gone no matter how much success you have. What’s overlooked is Harbaugh for all the success is an offensive coach who year after year fielded a bottom 5 offense. Most success was the D, so let’s not put him up there as gods gift to coaches, tack on that his personality is what it is…decisions are made. Credit him for restoring pride and winning in the organization, but they peaked already

  40. If the 49ers do poorly next year, it won’t be the coach or players crucified. Ready for some of that “accountability” mr yorkshire pudding?

  41. It says the situation forced him out, not York…and he was a major contributor to that situation. In other words, he was the agent of his own demise. If you want to paint it a different way to fool gulls, go ahead.

  42. York= Dan Snyder West….welcome to the world of dysfunction 49er Nation…all of us at Redskin nation know it well.

  43. I’ve been a 49ers fan for over 40 years and couldn’t stand the Raiders but I’m thinking about jumping ship. The Raiders have nowhere to go but up and the 49ers……well, that’s a downward spiral as long as Jeddy and Trent are there.

  44. This makes a lot more sense than thinking a sweet, easy going guy like Harbaugh had any blame.

  45. Hey! I heard a circus is coming to the West Coast and its going to be setting up its tents in Santa Clara…

    If this is true that York forced out who is conceivably a very good coach, what good coach moving forward is going to want to go to Santa Clara?

  46. The “win with class” comment is a classless passive-aggressive slap that tells me all I need to know about the situation. Harbaugh Is a lot of things – including aggressive and irritating – but classless is not one of them.

  47. Congratulations, Jed. You’ve succeeded in making Jim Harbaugh an immensely sympathetic figure.

    We all agree Harbaugh is a great coach. But a year ago, how many of us thought he was remotely likeable? Maybe a few.

    But you’ve turned Harbaugh into Daniel Bryan. Well done, rich boy.

  48. Born into privilege does not a Football expert make. Harbaugh has forgotten more about Football than York will ever know. Because he can’t take his ball and go home, he fired Harbaugh. He said, “hold him accountable” and I’m sure thousands of niner fans will.

  49. Harbaugh seems to have ingratiated himself more to his fans than the players. There were rumors when the season began that Harbaugh had lost the locker room. It was really no big secret that the players disliked him. Fans like him because he plays well to the media and is a very good coach, but when things go bad within the locker room, you antagonize upper management, and you lose, you’re gone. Kaepernick liked him because the coach called him Great “with a capital G”, despite how much Harbaugh’s gimmicky quarterback regressed after the league learned how to defend him.

    I didn’t think so before, but I think Rex Ryan would be a better coach in SF than Harbaugh. He could take that defense to another level, but he would have to bring in a top offensive coordinator and let that person fix that offense.

  50. Wow no “Dysfunction” word.
    I don’t like Harbaugh and I’m sure he ruffled feathers but he was made a lame duck coach this year after the attempted trade to Cleveland. Who ever wanted him out trashed 2014 in order to get rid of him.

  51. Somebody will write a book someday…maybe more than one! I just think it is looney-tunes to force a coach like Harbaugh, who has been successful everywhere, out of a place that may have a “rich tradition” but hasn’t won much in the past 20 years. I cannot see this as anything positive for the Niners organization, but I guess time will tell.

  52. I’m left with 3 thoughts:

    1) does Jed remember 2-14? Sure, Super Bowls are the benchmarks but your not going to 3 NFC Championships with…Shanny.

    2) Anyone smell Krause/Reinsdorf, “…organizations win championships…” How’d that work out?

  53. Keep trying to tell you fools, this was about Jedd and his front office buddies, namely, Paraag Marathe, pushing him out, not Baalke. Baalke is just a company man who goes along to get along, but he worked for Bill Parcells. Do you really think he would have had a problem with Harbaugh? The 49ers didn’t want to pay him $5 million the last time, and they surely didn’t want to pay him more this go around. Jedd is the son of the Yorks who were notoriously cheap to begin with, and now they have their stadium. This is going to be an ugly fall for that franchise.

    It’s why the planted story to the media that Marathe would follow Harbaugh was so funny to see so many national media types run with when any credible one in the Bay would have laughed at the notion, knowing who and what Marathe is to Jedd and is not to Harbaugh.

  54. When I heard Jim signed for 5 million with Michigan I almost laughed. York is such a stupid fool. Obviously this was more on the front office than on Harbaugh. Yes he may have been difficult, but sometimes it takes a difficult and tough idiosyncratic freak to win. And in those cases we all have to deal with the backlash and R-E-L-A-X.

    York: you and your ego will be the bane of the organization. I hope daddy gets smart and fires you.

  55. I too think that Jed and Baalke wanted Harbaugh to fire Roman. In Jed’s recent radio interview he stated that he was not going to disclose the “philosophical differences” because it involves people and their families. That person is Roman. That theory is futher supported by Baalkes college-aged daughter tweeting that Roman should be fire after the first Seattle game. I’m not saying that Baalke asked his daughter to send out that tweet, but where you think she formed that opinion? She most likely heard her father, Baalke, express that same thought at some point. Maybe Roman should have been fire, but who could win with an o-line that played as horribly as that Jaguars (49ers second to Jac in sacks given up). Since Harbaugh wouldn’t fire Roman, Jed and Baalke went after Harbaugh.

  56. Hmm. So everyone is putting this on York? You’re blaming the wrong guy. He might deserve some — but to paint Harbaugh as “totally innocent” is farcical.

    Case in point: The earliest reports out of media (Deion and others) was that Harbaugh had lost the locker room and some of the players. Remember that? Now, consider this:

    Did the play of Michael Crabtree set you on fire?
    Did the play of Vernon Davis set you on fire?
    Did the play of Mike Iupati set you on fire?
    Did the play of CK7 set you on fire?

    Now — some will make the argument that some players had off years and it just happens. And you would be right.

    But four key players? All in the same year? C’mon now, use that gray matter between your ears and look at this with objective eyes.

    Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t just Jed York. There’s something that went wrong in that locker room. The play of the team this past season reflected that. And consider this much: With the offense that Harbaugh gave us, do you really think it was going to get better?

    It’s convenient to place all the blame for this on Jed. It’s also wrong.

  57. As a Seahawk fan:

    Harbaugh took the 49ers to the NFCCG 3 times in 4 years! They went to the Superbowl and lost by a hair. They almost got to a second SB but once again lost by the tip of a ball.

    Before Harbaugh there were years of frustration for 49er fans. Maybe he wasn’t the gift of the gods to coaching but he sure could get the team to win games.

    Is Harbaugh likeable? Who cares? The 49ers did not hire him to be the PR Director. Was he difficult? Define the difficulty for us? Was it because he wanted more money and you did not want to pay him? Was it because he did not win the “big games”? He sure did not have much time to put together a team that could do that, did he?

    Seahawks fans did not like him because we knew his team was a power to be reckoned with. Yes, we did have some good fortune in the last 3 years, especially this year. But we also tended to lose in 49er town until this year. Not many teams could beat us regularly but the 49ers did, until this year. The wheels fell off the 49er team bus this year. That is a crying shame too.

    My memories of the 49ers were of class teams. teams that were thought of as smart, elite, and determined. Those were the teams that made the 49ers a dynasty.

    This organization is upside down right now, once again that is a crying shame. The fans of the 49ers deserve better.

    Who do the 49ers replace Harbaugh with? Even if the team did not win a SB in recent years(yet), it is nice to know that you have a consistent winning team that entertains you. What coach is going to do that for the fans? They all come with baggage, or limitations, or egos, or nervous twitches. The better ones can be almost insane sometimes.

    As a fan of a team that struggled for much of the 90’s in the wilderness, I feel for 49er fans who may find themselves now back in that wilderness. It is frustrating because of what the next couple of years might have brought forth.

  58. There, unfortunately are, a few multi rich owners that should not own a sports team. Why, because they are ego maniacs and treat it like a hobby.
    York might be one of them. Daniel Snyder is the leader of the pack. He has hired and fired almost as many coaches (14) as the numbers of years he has had the Skins. Only 4 winning seasons in 14 years. And he can’t see where the problem is? Look in the mirror. There R others, but this guy is the worst. If I were a FA no way I am going to sign there. No stability. Even the jerk in Dallas is finally seeing that he needs to give his coach time.

  59. Harbaugh is the only reason the team has been successful since the Yorks took over. And they drove him out.

    Personalities are irrelevant in an NFL franchise. You want a winning coach and strong quarterback. If you are looking for nice people to get along with, you are in the wrong business. See: Belichick and New England.

    Harbaugh delivered three straight NFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl in a short amount of time. And you burn him publicly because of personal issues? The Yorks are going to get what they deserve here.

    The Raiders made this same mistake with Gruden years ago. How much success have they seen since he left? Exactly.

    The Yorks are clueless and should have given the team back to Mr. D years ago. Jed and Jeb (and the rest of the Clampetts) are a joke.

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