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It is incorrect, as Sanders stated on the NFL Network after the 49ers rallied to beat the previously unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles, that the team universally wants Harbaugh out as head coach.
And it’s equally implausible that “everybody” loves the 49ers head coach.
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There have always been rumblings of scattered player dissatisfaction since Harbaugh’s arrival. One of the constant themes was that he was grinding them too hard with three-hour practices in training camp and not letting up much once the season began.
On Monday, Harbaugh said he meets regularly with veterans to gauge the temperature in the locker room. And Harbaugh walks through the locker room to touch base with his players more than any coach I’ve covered.
Harbaugh said he has an open-door policy, and no players have come to talk to him about growing discontent. That’s why he labeled Sanders’ wide-sweeping statement of dissension as “crap.”
Harbaugh describes his players as “mighty men.” If a true “mighty man” is not happy, he would enter the open door to talk to his coach rather than going through the back door as an unnamed source.
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Harbaugh said on Monday that nobody has come to him to air any complaints.
It’s no secret Harbaugh is a difficult personality. But the guy can coach. He took a team that had not made the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons and led it to the NFC Championship game in each of his three seasons.
But his future with the 49ers beyond this season is very much in question.
CEO Jed York and Harbaugh did not work out a contract extension after the Super Bowl before the 2013 season. Again, in the offseason months, the sides could not come together on a deal that would take him past the 2015 season.
Just a week into training camp, York and Harbaugh agreed on one thing -- to postpone contract talks until after the current season. That tells you everything you need to know about the importance of Harbaugh’s fourth season as coach.
Coaches do not need to be universally liked by the players. Several prominent 49ers often clashed with Bill Walsh. So the players should have no voice in whether Harbaugh remains as head coach after this season.
The only thing that matters, as it pertains to Harbaugh’s future with the team, is how York and general manager Trent Baalke feel about him. The only time successful coaches are dismissed is when somebody in an upstairs office has an issue.
If the team plays hard and plays well, it does not matter if the head coach has a 100-percent approval rating. His job is to keep everybody in the locker room pulling in the same direction. Perhaps, the "unnamed sources" are giving Harbaugh an assist.
“When it comes to a football team,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on KNBR, “if there’s people that want to divide, divide, divide on the outside, then our response is, ‘Unite, unite, unite.’ That’s the way our team has always gone about it.”