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Jim Harbaugh Defends Young WRs

Posted Aug 21, 2013

Jim Harbaugh showed why he’s loved by his players at the end of his Wednesday press conference.

The 49ers coach demonstrated his honesty and team-first approach. He did so while answering a question about Jon Baldwin’s chances of earning the team’s No. 2 wide receiver role before the Sept. 8 regular season opener.

“I feel like he’s got a heck of an opportunity here,” Harbaugh said of Baldwin, the wideout acquired by San Francisco for A.J. Jenkins. “I feel real excited for both Jonathan Baldwin and A.J. Jenkins.”


Harbaugh then continued with his own off-the-cuff remarks about the state of both former first-round picks.

“I know people have been making some sport of A.J. and Jonathan and my comments,” the 49ers coach said, referring to his positive remarks on Jenkins from last July. “I really feel the way I did a year ago when I made those comments. I don’t think it’s fair to bully or label a young player.”

Harbaugh, a former NFL veteran quarterback, developed into a standout signal-caller later in his career. The 49ers coach commented earlier in the week that his “signature” years came after he was “rejected” by the Chicago Bears.


In light of this week’s Baldwin-for-Jenkins swap, Harbaugh stressed that the criticisms of both players should be directed at coaches and not the players themselves.

“I fully understand people are entitled to their own opinion and their perspective, however, I prefer that the criticism, I’d appreciate that the criticism was directed towards me,” Harbaugh said. “I’m responsible and I certainly accept that.

“Actually, I welcome that.”

Harbaugh finished his remarks by reiterating his low tolerance for critiques of first-year players.

“Of course I’m going to defend a young player when I believe he’s being bullied or labeled, even before his first practice,” Harbaugh said.

“I’m responsible for helping pick the draft picks and fully responsible for coaching the players up. I willingly accept those responsibilities.”


When the comments were relayed to Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback explained why the team appreciates such strong words from the head coach.

“I think it’s great when your coach is going to take your side, the player’s side, and do anything he can to make you feel comfortable and be successful on the field.”


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