49ers

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

In Kyle Shanahan’s first breath after being introduced as 49ers head coach on Feb. 9, he mentioned Jim Harbaugh, along with Bill Walsh, George Seifert and Steve Mariucci.

The head coach of Michigan was listening, and he appreciated the gesture.

“It was very flattering that he said nice things about us at his news conference, and I appreciated that,” Harbaugh said on "The TK Show," a podcast from Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.

“Now, I don’t think I was there long enough to be compared with Bill Walsh or Coach Seifert, etc. But I think did – and correct me if I’m wrong – I think we did set a record for coaching there the longest under the present ownership, if I’m not wrong.”

That is correct.

Since John and Denise York took over control of the 49ers in 2000 from Denise’s brother, Eddie DeBartolo, the 49ers have employed eight head coaches. Mike Nolan was fired after seven games of his fourth season. The two coaches who followed Harbaugh -- Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly -- were fired after 5-11 and 2-14 seasons, respectively.

Harbaugh’s teams advanced to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance. He and the 49ers “mutually parted ways,” the club announced, immediately after the team finished with an 8-8 record in 2014.

“I take pride in that,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe there should be an endurance medal, a courage medal, for that.”

Shanahan mentioned Harbaugh during his opening remarks at the introductory press conference earlier this month:

“I’ve got to start out thanking Jed and the whole York family. Giving me this opportunity is, it’s a dream come true and it’s not just an opportunity to be a head coach, but to be a head coach at a place like this where you talk about Bill Walsh, you talk about George Seifert, Steve Mariucci, Jim Harbaugh and you can go down the line with the coaches.”

Said Harbaugh, “Just appreciated it. Appreciated it, and not just for me personally, but appreciated that for all the wonderful players we had and the wonderful coaches and the effort that was put in. People poured their hearts and souls into those years. It’s just appreciated that Kyle would make that comment.”

Harbaugh said he has deep respect for Shanahan and new 49ers general manager John Lynch, whom Harbaugh asked to speak to his Stanford teams during his four-year tenure as head coach.

“Yeah, I would’ve loved to have worked for John Lynch,” Harbaugh said. “He reminds me a lot of the athletic director we have here Warde Manuel, who’s also a former player and a teammate of mine. Common sense guys who are team guys, just the way they go about their business always speaks volumes.

“I thought John took note when they were going through the process. He didn’t want his name mentioned and I think that’s . . . I don’t know if a lot of people noticed that, but I think that’s a profound thing. I think that speaks volumes for who he is as a person. He wants to do a good job and it’s for the right reasons. He’s a competitor at the highest level, so I have great respect for that.”

Kawakami also asked Harbaugh about whether he believes quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still capable of being an NFL starter.

“There’s no doubt he can be an NFL starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said.

“I’m sure Kyle, the coaching staff there and John will meet on it, they’ll think about it, they’ll watch, much like we did when we got in there in 2011. And they’ll make the best decision they can for the team and the organization and it’ll play out the way it’s going to play out.”

49ers confirm visits with top NFL draft prospects, including Nick Bosa

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49ers confirm visits with top NFL draft prospects, including Nick Bosa

PHOENIX – Four of the top defensive players are scheduled to travel to Santa Clara to meet with the 49ers before the NFL draft.

General manager John Lynch confirmed Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Michigan’s Rashan Gary will be among the team’s 30 allowed pre-draft visits.

The visits will begin next week, Lynch said on Monday at the NFL owners meeting. The 49ers have not finalized their entire list of visits.

“That’s fluid,” Lynch said. “We’re still putting that (list) together.”

When asked whether the 49ers have narrowed down their selection with the No. 2 overall pick to Bosa, Williams and Allen, Lynch said the team is still in the process of determining the draft plan.

“Those guys are really good players,” Lynch said. “I think anybody would be interested in picking high. We can’t just settle in on two or three guys and say these are our guys here.”

Lynch and 49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters met last week with Williams and Bosa. The 49ers took Williams to IHOP in Tuscaloosa, at Williams’ request.

“I hadn’t been to IHOP in 10 years,” Lynch said. “The thing that stunk, I was all fired up for pigs in a blanket because that was my go-to when I used to go to IHOP as a kid. He went all healthy on me. He had a garden omelet, so I felt compelled to have a garden omelet, too.”

NFL Rumors: 49ers' Jason Verrett needs Frank Gore approval to wear No. 21

NFL Rumors: 49ers' Jason Verrett needs Frank Gore approval to wear No. 21

New 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett has worn No. 22 his entire NFL career, but he'll have to choose a different number in 2019.

Running back Matt Breida wears the number, so Verrett reportedly wants to wear No. 21.  The 49ers told him he could under one condition, The Athletic's Matt Barrows reported Monday morning. 

Gore, of course, is still an active player. He signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills at the start of free agency, and will play in his 15th NFL season. But, this seems to confirm the obvious: Gore is a lock to have his number retired by the 49ers. 

No. 21 seemingly has been in unofficial retirement since Gore signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015. In each of the last four seasons, no player has worn the number.

[RELATED: Jed York says he punched a wall when Jimmy G tore his ACL]

And for good reason. Gore remains the 49ers' leading rusher (11,073 yards), and played more games (148) than all but seven players in franchise history. The 49ers toiled in mediocrity and turned into a contender during his decade in the Bay Area, and he was a consistent offensive centerpiece throughout. The Miami product rushed for at least 1,000 yards in all but two of his seasons with the 49ers. 

Gore told 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce earlier this month that he wants to retire with the 49ers when he finally hangs up his cleats. It appears he won't have to wait much long after that for his number to be retired, too.