SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jim Harbaugh has no time for Deion Sanders, Trent Dilfer or others who question whether the fourth-year coach has lost his locker room or the faith of his players.
In an NFL Network show Sunday, Sanders said of 49ers players: “They want him out. They’re not on the same page.”
“Personally I think that’s a bunch of crap,” Harbaugh responded Monday. “People say what they say.”
Analyst Dilfer offered Monday on ESPN Radio that, “I do think it’s become almost toxic.”
Harbaugh dismissed that, too, by saying, “I haven’t seen Trent or Deion around much.”
“When you’re talking about unnamed sources, if somebody’s got a good story to tell, they ought to put their name to it,” Harbaugh said. “If I had a good story to tell, I’d want to put my name to it, so I don’t put a lot of credibility into the unnamed source.”
Harbaugh is in the fourth season of his original $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011 when he left Stanford to become the 49ers coach. San Francisco (2-2) beat the Eagles 26-21 on Sunday to avoid the first three-game losing streak of his tenure, holding one of the NFL’s best offenses without a touchdown.
Harbaugh has said he has an open-door policy and hasn’t heard from CEO Jed York or general manager Trent Baalke that there have been complaints from players. And Harbaugh said players have voiced “nothing specifically” in terms of concerns with how things are going.
“There’s conversations, and we never really talk about those,” Harbaugh said. “Players have good ideas, coaches have good ideas, equipment managers have good ideas, trainers have good ideas, strength coaches. Welcome that. If we haven’t been doing something right or there’s a better way to do it, then let’s get it out in the open, let’s talk about it and we’ll do anything to fix something or make it better. That’s the kind of relationship we have.”
The 49ers, who host former quarterback Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs this coming Sunday, rallied in a rare strong second half to send the Eagles to their first defeat. Harbaugh spoke of the “joy” of coaching a game like that.
“It’s going to be good for morale, I would suspect. Good for my morale,” he said afterward. “But we got to keep going.”
York said last year he hoped to get a new deal done for Harbaugh during the offseason, but that didn’t happen. Instead, reports surfaced that the Cleveland Browns inquired about trading for Harbaugh.
Still, Harbaugh described his relationship with York, Baalke and the front office as “very good.”
“Everybody is on the same page. Everybody is focused on this season, making it the best it can possibly be, working well together,” he said.
A few days after San Francisco’s 2013 season ended with a January loss in the NFC championship game at Seattle, Cleveland hired Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to replace Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after going 4-12 his first year.
Harbaugh coached the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years after the 2012 season, and San Francisco missed out on the franchise’s sixth championship. The Niners lost in the NFC championship game in Harbaugh’s first season to the eventual champion New York Giants. He earned NFL Coach of the Year honors while leading the 49ers back to the playoffs following an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth or winning record.
Defensive stars such as Justin Smith and Patrick Willis have said this team must take the next step and win a title.
“What I love about our ballclub is there’s no finger pointing, there’s total belief in each other,” Harbaugh said. “Offense lifting up defense. Defense lifting up the offense and both doing that with the special teams. That’s a joy to be around. That’s a joy to coach. Now, they’re playing for each other. That’s what they should be doing. I’m not taking any credit for that. I’m just expressing that’s a joy to be around these fighters, these men.”
NOTES: Harbaugh had no updates on the health of TE Vernon Davis, who left with a back injury, or RT Anthony Davis, who sustained a left knee injury in his season debut after returning from a hurt hamstring.
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