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SANTA CLARA – It’s been a rough couple weeks for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
The night before the 49ers’ playoff hopes were reduced to a flicker with a loss to the Raiders, Harbaugh chipped his left front tooth while eating a steak – a "two-dollar steak," Harbaugh quipped.
“Bit into a piece of meat,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “There’s not much of that tooth left. It’s mainly bonding. I got that tooth knocked out in a football game.”
Harbaugh, then with the Indianapolis Colts, lost the tooth early in a 42-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in an 1996 playoff game.
"It got to be a matter of survival out there," Harbaugh said in a New York Daily News report the next day after the playoff loss. “I got some dental work that needs to be done. I got about 15 to 20 stitches in my mouth. I can't really talk.”
Harbaugh on Monday said he took a hit from Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd that knocked out his tooth. But Lloyd was on injured reserve and did not play in that game.
More likely, Harbaugh lost his tooth on the fourth play of the game when Steelers linebacker Jason Gildon and defensive end Kevin Henry sandwiched him. But it could have been two plays later when linebacker Chad Brown and defensive end Bill Johnson crushed him.