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Jim Harbaugh Would Trade Headset for Helmet

Posted Jan 15, 2014

Jim Harbaugh explained what he would give for the chance to play in Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Jim Harbaugh wants in.

If San Francisco's head coach could unretire and strap it up, Harbaugh would do just about anything to play on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

How do we know? Because Harbaugh brought it up himself unsolicited at the end of an answer pertaining to a question on pre-snap motion plays in the loud CenturyLink Field environment.

“This kind of game, I was thinking of the things I would trade to be able to compete as a player in these games, in this game,” the 49ers coach said. “It's pretty significant.”

The tenor of the press conference slowly started to go from focused to loose.

Just as one reporter finished asking about the practice status of veteran cornerback Carlos Rogers, who will evidently have to earn his role back with a good week of practice this week, the crowded media tent wanted to explore Harbaugh’s trade comment.

“What would you trade?” a reporter asked.

“There’s a lot,” Harbaugh replied.

Then in a matter of seconds, the 49ers coach was asked if he would trade his house, a finger like Hall of Fame 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, or even his college degree from the University of Michigan.

Harbaugh said trading a finger to play would be, “easy.”

Harbaugh added that he pondered giving up an arm or an eyeball to play.

“I was kind of going to those extremes,” he said with a grin.

Harbaugh’s passion for football remains at an all-time high.

There’s no doubt he’s looking forward to his third-straight appearance in the NFC title game, but the feeling of playing on Sunday is something he would cherish if it was in any way possible.

“Well there's nothing better than playing,” Harbaugh said. “Coaching is the second-best thing though, because you are competing.”

It’s not hard to see why the 49ers love playing for Harbaugh.

“He knows how to motivate people,” Colin Kaepernick said. “He knows how to get people to go out and execute for each other every day.”

Seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis said the passion for competition extends beyond the head coach.

“It comes across with all our coaches,” the 49ers linebacker said before sharing a story on his linebackers coach Jim Leavitt.

“Coach Leavitt told us today, ‘I wish I could strap up for one play. I might get ran over, but I would hold on for my dear life.’”

Leavitt’s message was well received by his star pupil.

“You have to look inside yourself and say, ‘He can’t do it, but I can, so let me do it for the both of us,’” Willis said.




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