Harbaugh vows to stay the course | NevadaAppeal.com

Harbaugh vows to stay the course

Janie McCauley
AP Sports Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jim Harbaugh isn't budging, even if his new broken tooth offers a symbolic glimpse into the story of his disappointing year.

No wavering when it comes to his coaching future, thoughts about his bosses in the San Francisco front office, or even whether the 49ers have fallen too far to have hope of a 2014 recovery.

After two straight demoralizing defeats in which the Niners have managed only 16 total points, Harbaugh's future is the hottest topic around his team. And that's a far cry from the coach's first three seasons when San Francisco was playoff bound and poised for a deep postseason run — as in three straight NFC championship game appearances.

Still, Harbaugh spent his regular Monday media session defending quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the effort of his players a day after a 24-13 loss at Oakland that gave the Raiders just their second victory of the season and put a major damper on San Francisco's playoff hopes as the team dropped to 7-6.

"Colin's our quarterback," Harbaugh said. "When you talk about a professional, he is that. He's given every ounce of energy that he has."

Harbaugh wouldn't discuss an NFL Network report that the University of Michigan, his alma mater, had reached out to him about its head coach vacancy.

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"As I've said, as a principle I don't talk about any other job other than the one that I have," Harbaugh said.

When asked whether he is satisfied with the professionalism throughout the franchise, including those working above him, Harbaugh answered only with, "We're a team."

CEO Jed York chose not to post anything critical on Twitter this time, as he did Thanksgiving night when he wrote: "This performance wasn't acceptable. I apologize for that."

On Monday, fans supporting Harbaugh were tweeting at York's account with "EXTEND HARBAUGH" and "We got ya back Coach!"

Harbaugh is winding up the fourth season of a $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011. Even before the season began with a Super Bowl on everybody's mind there were questions whether this would be it for Harbaugh, who hasn't received an extension — or made it clear he even wants one, for that matter.

Harbaugh didn't offer any hints into linebacker Ahmad Brooks' status for this week. His streak of consecutive starts ended at 60 on Sunday, when he was benched and didn't play at all after missing a defensive meeting last week.

"He was in a backup role this last game and we'll address that this week," Harbaugh said.

There won't be any changes to the coaching staff this week to shake things up, Harbaugh said.

As far as his own future, he insisted once again that he is most concerned about winning and taking care of his players the rest of the way.

"I've answered this question many times, even recently. So you know exactly what my priorities are," he said. "I get this from the Marines. Leaders eat last."

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