Since Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported on Friday that the Browns had “nearly” acquired the rights to 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, several reports have followed up on that story with additional details and an assortment of half-confirmations, half-denials from the Browns and Niners. Here’s a round-up of where the story stands as of Monday morning:
- After tweeting on Friday that PFT’s report “isn’t true,” 49ers CEO Jed York softened his stance somewhat. “The Browns reached out to me, and we had no interest in pursuing it,” York tells Peter King of TheMMQB.
- Speaking to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, York explained that he initially shot down the report because it wasn’t true that the 49ers were willing to move forward with the deal and Harbaugh wasn’t interested. Asked how far discussions progressed, York replied “not far at all,” adding that the Niners had “no interest” in entering serious negotiations. According to York, the team intends to reopen extension talks with Harbaugh before the 2014 season.
- Barrows reported yesterday that the Browns called the 49ers last month to ask about several of the team’s coaches. During conversations between the two sides, Harbaugh’s name came up, and former Browns CEO Joe Banner indicated what sort of compensation the team would be willing to provide for the Niners head coach. However, the discussion didn’t progress from that point.
- Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed this weekend that there was at least something to the initial report, telling Jarrett Bell of USA Today, “There was an opportunity there, and it didn’t materialize.”
- While Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com also believes talks between the Browns and Niners didn’t get far, he says the rift between Harbaugh and San Francisco’s front office – including GM Trent Baalke and president Paraag Marathe – is much greater than has been portrayed in the media. League sources who have spoken to La Canfora at the combine have been pessimistic about the odds of an extension this offseason for Harbaugh.