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San Francisco 49ers CEO denies team tried to trade Harbaugh

By Janie McCauley / AP Sports Writer

LAST UPDATED: 07:32 p.m. HST, Feb 21, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO » San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York denied his team nearly traded coach Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns last month for draft picks.

York shot down a report Friday by Pro Football Talk, posting on Twitter: "Is this on the record? Report isn't true." Pro Football Talk reported that a deal was in place that would have sent Harbaugh to coach Cleveland, but he opted to stay put. The 50-year-old Harbaugh just completed his third season of a $25 million, five-year contract and declined to address the subject of an extension or any scheduled talks after the season with York, who had said he hoped to meet with the coach.

The 49ers (14-5) lost to the NFC West rival and eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks in the NFC championship game, 23-17.

A few days after San Francisco's season, Cleveland hired Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to replace Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after going 4-12 his first year. It was the team's sixth straight season with at least 11 losses.

"The team conducted an extensive coaching search, and explored several options," the Browns said in a statement Friday. "That search produced an outstanding head coach in Mike Pettine and we're excited about his future with the club."

Earlier this month, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam announced CEO Joe Banner would leave after helping with the transition, general manager Michael Lombardi was out immediately and Larry Farmer was promoted from assistant GM to general manager.

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 with a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. 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.

When asked in December about speculation Texas might pursue Harbaugh to replace Mack Brown, the coach responded in his own way.

"In Judge Judy's court, hearsay is not admissible evidence," Harbaugh said. "I watch a lot of Judge Judy."

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entrkn wrote:
Harbaugh is a better coach than Carroll but John Schneider is a way better GM than Trent Baalke, and that's why Seattle beat San Francisco this past season and then won the Super Bowl. Unless San Francisco can get a better GM than Schneider immediately, they are destined to replay their 2013 record in 2014.
on February 21,2014 | 06:51PM
Bdpapa wrote:
He was a troubled QB, very good college coach and exceptional Pro coach. But, bottom line, he is an a hole. But he wins games.
on February 21,2014 | 08:39PM
IkaikaAnderson wrote:
Go '9ers!!
on February 21,2014 | 08:42PM
blackmurano wrote:
Harbaugh to the Browns - N O W A Y!! Jim Harbaugh will lead the San Francisco 49ers to the 2015 Super Bowl. Their the only team that can beat their nemesis Seattle Seahawks.
on February 21,2014 | 08:50PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
We go trade Chow for Saban.
on February 21,2014 | 11:21PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
Big deal - 49ers will never win a SB under him anyway.
on February 22,2014 | 12:28AM
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