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49ers' Harbaugh back to work after heart procedure

49ers' Harbaugh back to work after heart procedure

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jim Harbaugh practically galloped through the locker room, lively as ever, offering a wave and a smile to long snapper Brian Jennings before putting his arm around right guard Alex Boone.

The San Francisco 49ers coach was back at work Friday and fired up to be there a day after undergoing a minor procedure for an irregular heartbeat that kept him away for all of half a day.

``I'm fine, I'm fine,'' Harbaugh said. ``No limits. Going about everything as normal. Had a little irregular heartbeat. I've had that before. Now that I have the procedure, a cardiovert, it's amazing. It gets the heart rate back to normal. Atrial flutter is something I've had for a while, most of my life.''

The reigning NFL Coach of the Year returned to the field to lead San Francisco through a morning walk-through session, with a full practice scheduled for the afternoon. He did stop by for the final hour of Thursday's practice for a ``little bit'' of coaching but ``more standing.''

``It was pretty cool to see him,'' safety Donte Whitner said. ``We knew it was a minor heart thing, but a heart thing no matter if it's minor, it's serious. It felt a little different without him. Hopefully, he doesn't have to go through it again.''

Harbaugh, who turns 49 on Dec. 23, was away from the team Thursday for his procedure at Stanford Hospital after undergoing tests Wednesday night. Several players said Friday they were initially scared for their coach, who acknowledged Friday that he underwent a similar procedure called an ``ablation'' 13 years ago while still playing during a 15-year NFL career at quarterback.

``He's an intense person,'' fullback Bruce Miller said. ``It's definitely a serious issue already with his heart. He's not going to slow down. We're glad he's back.''

Doctors talked to Harbaugh about improving his diet and cutting down on caffeine. He said he also will take aspirin and other medication. Whether he could need a follow-up procedure down the road, Harbaugh doesn't know.

``They'll evaluate it as it goes,'' he said.

His father, Jack, and older brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, both encouraged him to ``listen to the doctors and eat right.''

Does he consider himself coachable when it comes to his health?

``Sure, absolutely,'' said Harbaugh, whose NFC West-leading Niners (6-2-1) host the Chicago Bears (7-2) in a key NFC showdown on Monday Night Football. ``You're not going to be stubborn like a mule.''

His players had some fun with Harbaugh once they knew he was OK.

``He gets fined $500,'' linebacker NaVorro Bowman said with a grin. ``He missed meetings.''

Earlier this fall, Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker missed 11 games late in the regular season, hospitalized because of a mini-stroke and irregular heartbeat. He returned to manage the Reds in the playoffs, a five-game division series loss to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

Harbaugh said he isn't worried about burning out with the rigorous year-round schedule and pressures on an NFL coach.

``I don't foresee that, no,'' he said. ``I'm just glad to be back at work, glad to be preparing for this ballgame.''

Concern for Harbaugh's health reached his old Stanford campus, too.

``Pretty scary stuff, but it sounds like he's doing OK now,'' Cardinal coach David Shaw said. ``And if I know Jim Harbaugh, it's going to take a lot more than that to stop Captain Comeback.''

Running back Frank Gore certainly doesn't expect the excitable Harbaugh, who regularly becomes red-faced and angry at officials, to stray from his approach.

``He's going to be him,'' Gore said. ``Coach is a tough guy.''

And Harbaugh didn't seem to mind a little bit of good-natured razzing from his guys.

``We had to,'' defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said. ``He's the guy you never think is going to get sick. He's good. We got him out there joking and laughing. He's in good spirits. It's good for him to be back on the field.''

Notes: Harbaugh said QB Alex Smith's status for Monday is still unknown as he works back from a concussion, and he will be evaluated again by a neurologist. Backup Colin Kaepernick is getting a ``little bit more work than normal,'' Harbaugh said. ``Alex seems like things are progressing as it does.'' Smith practiced in a non-contact black jersey for the third straight day. ... RB Brandon Jacobs said his series of Twitter posts Thursday in which he referenced never working ``in a place where you hate your boss so much, you should always be happy at work'' were not directed at Harbaugh but rather toward the unstable work environment of his big brother, Michael. ``I don't look at him as my boss. He's our coach and leader,'' Jacobs said. ``I look at (GM) Trent Baalke as the boss.'' Jacobs - who hasn't played all season - also revealed he has long had an irregular heartbeat, and that the 49ers are aware of it. ... The NFL fined DT Ray McDonald $21,000 for a third-quarter hit on Rams QB Sam Bradford in Sunday's 24-24 tie.

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AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed to this story from Stanford.

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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USA TODAY Sports

As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER

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Heisman Trophy winner turned backup, Robert Griffin III fully embracing new role with Ravens

Heisman Trophy winner turned backup, Robert Griffin III fully embracing new role with Ravens

Robert Griffin III went from Heisman Trophy winner, to second-overall pick, to Offensive Rookie of the Year, to unemployed, to backup quarterback all in the matter of six years.

That's a rollercoaster of a career for a 28-year old, but RGIII is fully embracing the opportunity the Ravens have presented him with.

“I feel like I knew coming into this situation that this is Joe’s [Flacco] team," Griffin said at a press conference Wednesday.

"I understood that when I came in to work out; I understood that when I signed. I’m excited about the opportunity to learn from him. Whatever capacity the coaches ask me to help, that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to compete, and I’m here to get better every single day – work hard. I think they saw that from me in the workout and in our general conversations together. I think they realize I’m ready for the opportunity and I’m ready for this role – whatever that role may be.”

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER

Finding a backup quarterback that you can put some faith in during a time of desperation in today's league is a hard find, with the exception of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. 

While Griffin hasn't played since January of 2017, he offers legitimate experience that isn't being offered by typical backups. 

 "I feel like I’ve been able to get a better grasp of how to play the game in the NFL, what coaches are looking for. I think that’s a benefit, whereas in 2012 when I came in, it was more so learning everything on the fly and just going out and playing. Now I feel like I have to ability to go out and play and also know what I’m doing, be able to protect myself better, get the ball to the guys that need to get the ball and help a team win – in whatever way that is.”

The Ravens signed RGIII on a one-year contract worth $1 million - we're assuming- with hopes he'll never see the field during the regular season. Griffin made it clear he understands that role, but is looking forward to learning how to lead a team under a ten-year veteran. 

RELATED: RAVENS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

“Most of my interactions with Joe have been at midfield. I really do look forward to getting in the quarterback room with him. It’s a great opportunity for me. I still feel like I’m a young player. I’m 28, but I feel like I’m 25. He’s been through a lot of things in his career, been to the pinnacle and won a Super Bowl – Super Bowl MVP. I think that’s a great opportunity for me to learn and learn from him, and to just see the way that he attacks the game of football, the way he attacks the meeting room, practice, interacting with teammates – all those types of things – the way he leads." 

The RGIII saga in Baltimore is an open book right now, one that could come with an interesting ending.