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Mort confirms “substance” of our Harbaugh report


It’s been an interesting day in Indianapolis.

Not long after finishing the last of 19 coach/G.M. interviews for Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, we nailed down the news that the Browns and 49ers had a trade in place to send Jim Harbaugh to Cleveland, and that Harbaugh ultimately opted not to consummate the deal.

The Browns did not deny the news, telling PFT that there would be no comment on the specific report, but explaining that many options were considered during the search for a new coach. The 49ers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 49ers apparently opted to try a different approach to denying the report with a press release, leaking to NFL Media via an unnamed source that the notion that the report is both “completely false” and “ridiculous.” It seemed odd that the 49ers wouldn’t use those terms on the record if the report were indeed “completely false” and “ridiculous,” so we pointed that out.

So then 49ers CEO Jed York decided to address the situation on Twitter. “Report isn’t true,” York said.

It’s unclear whether York takes issue with all or just part of the report. He has declined a request to elaborate, explaining to PFT that he has nothing more to add.

Enter Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

“Browns did indeed make a run at Jim Harbaugh that reached a serious stage, sources confirm substance of @ProFootballTalk report,” Mortensen said via Twitter.

Given the sensitive nature of the relationship between the 49ers and Harbaugh -- a relationship sufficiently volatile to apparently prompt the 49ers to consider ending it -- it’s easy to understand why the 49ers would take the position that the report isn’t true. Since the trade didn’t happen, the 49ers need to work with Harbaugh.

They also may need to sign Harbaugh to a long-term contract, breaking the impasse that currently exists, according to Matt Maiocco of

In the end, the biggest winner could be Harbaugh. For the 49ers to persuade the average fan that they really didn’t think about divorcing Harbaugh, the 49ers may need to renew the vows.

Vows written by Harbaugh.