49ers Links: Harbaugh, Gore, Crabtree, Smith

Jim Harbaugh isn’t the only member of the 49ers organization whose future is in doubt. The assistant coaches are uncertain about their jobs next season as they wait for an inevitable coaching change. As Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes, Harbaugh will certainly take some of his assistants with him wherever he lands, but some others will have to hope that the next 49ers coach retains them.

“The last game’s always a little different when you know it’s your last game,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “But you know, when we’re in meetings as coaches, whether it’d just be us as a defensive staff or with the players, it’s normal. It’s just all the stuff around that everybody notices it to some different degrees than others. It’s just part of the deal.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the 49ers…

  • Daniel Brown of MercuryNews.com explores the potential complications of a Harbaugh trade. The writer suggests that the head coach could decide to play hardball and force the team to fire him if he doesn’t agree to be traded. Furthermore, Brown cites the NFL’s Anti-Tampering Policy, which states that “an employee under contract to a member club… who voluntarily resigns or retires prior to the expiration of his contract, is not free to discuss or accept employment with another NFL club without the consent of the prior-employer club.”
  • We previously heard that Harbaugh’s family was pushing for the coach’s move to Michigan, but his brother, John Harbaugh, disputes that report. “My dad and I both . . . I will say this: The report that said that his family is encouraging him to go to Michigan by Adam Schefter is absolutely incorrect,” he said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “There has been no family that I know of that has given him any advice at all because that’s a personal decision. It’s his to make, and that’s just absolutely false. I don’t know where that came from, but it didn’t come from the Harbaughs.”
  • While the organization has apparently soured on Harbaugh, the coach’s lead running back has not. “He’s my best coach,” Frank Gore told Can Inman of MercuryNew.com (via Twitter). “I didn’t enjoy it here until we started winning. Since he’s been here, I’ve won.”
  • Gore also didn’t mince words when he was asked where he wants to play next season. “I want to be here,” the upcoming free agent said (via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee). “I was raised here, man.”
  • Meanwhile, wideout Michael Crabtree is looking forward to free agency. “I’ve grown a lot, seen a lot and we’ve done a lot as a team,” Crabtree said (via Inman). “I feel I’ve contributed a lot to the team, and I can’t wait to see what’s the next chapter of my career, and to maximize my talent and my youth.”
  • 49ers defensive end Justin Smith could retire this offseason, writes Maiocco. Of course, that doesn’t mean the organization doesn’t want him back. “We would welcome the opportunity to coach 94 one more season,” general manager Trent Baalke said. “And I think our fans would love to see 94 give it one more go. Whether he’s going to do that or not is really his decision. He’s earned that right to go out on his terms and I’m sure he’ll make the right decision for him and his family.”
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