Jim Harbaugh took questions today at the NFL scouting combine. Sometimes Harbaugh says things that we can take at face value, other times he just says things. As a public service, we’ve (okay, I’ve) gone through the most eye-catching quotes and judged them based on my proprietary, brand new, and inherently flawed 1-to-10 believability scale.
Most of these quotes are from 49ers.com, because transcribing takes a long time. Thanks, 49ers.com!
“Halfway through the season or something like that would be more realistic,” the 49ers coach said of Bowman’s timetable for a return.
Harbaugh was also quick to point out that Bowman should never be ruled out from doing anything.
“He’s just a supreme athlete, a world-class athlete among other world-class athletes,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll take good care of him. That would be the smart thing, wouldn’t it?”
The idea that the 49ers would rush Bowman back early in the season is unimaginable. There’s no reason to risk further damage to Bowman’s knee, since he’s in their long-term plans and they already have Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody around to compete for his snaps.
Believability score: 10
“We’re thinking about it a lot,” the 49ers coach said. “There’s a lot to be excited about, a lot to be done at that position and Anquan is No. 1.
“There’s angst and there’s work to be done.”
Harbaugh said he is encouraged by where things stand between the team and the receiver who caught 85 passes for 1,179 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his first year with San Francisco.
“The direction is very positive,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not just me who wants Anquan Boldin back. I feel there’s a process. It could be days, weeks, but there’s a process. It’s going in a positive direction from the standpoint of the San Francisco 49ers.”
Harbaugh said he remains confident that Boldin can contribute in what would be his 12th season in the league.
“Really Anquan has done everything he can possibly do with the way he’s played and the kind of teammate he was last year,” Harbaugh said. “We’re all lockstep with how we feel about him.”
Boldin was voted as the team’s MVP (Bill Walsh Award) by the coaches. Clearly the 49ers would love to keep him. However, Harbaugh also came out in favor of paying Dashon Goldson after the 2012 season. This decision isn’t in Harbaugh’s hands, it’s based on Boldin’s salary requirements and how much cap space Paraag Marathe and Trent Baalke want to devote to an aging — albeit extremely productive — receiver. When Harbaugh says “it’s not just me who wants Anquan Boldin back,” is he referring to the coaching staff or the guys who cut the checks? I think it’s both, but we’ll see.
Believability score: 7
Harbaugh on Tank Carradine
“They took that out and his leg went straight. He looks like a different guy now, since that procedure. Just what we saw when he did practice with our football team and now this procedure that’s been done, I’m even more excited. I think he’s going to have a great offseason and look forward to his progress very, very much,” Harbaugh said.
I grabbed that quote from the story I wrote earlier about the 49ers’ (misguided) strategy of drafting players they plan to “redshirt” in their rookie seasons. While Carradine probably feels better now than he did when he couldn’t fully straighten his leg, the above quote smacks of something Harbaugh is required to say. It wouldn’t help the 49ers’ position in free agency or the draft if they let everyone know that they don’t think Carradine will have a productive offseason or NFL career.
Believability score: 3
Harbaugh also commented on media reports of fourth-year receiver Jon Baldwin restructuring his contract to remain with the club in 2014.
“We’ve talked about Jon before and how I feel about him, his competitive heart, his ability,” the 49ers coach said. “We remain very excited about Jonathan.”
Baldwin was slated to make $1,274,765 with a $130,000 workout bonus next year; now he’ll make $645,000 in base salary with a chance to make $755,000 in incentives. That’s a very slight chance, because Baldwin (who didn’t play after Week 12) is probably going to get released unless the 49ers really struggle in their efforts to find some receivers in the coming months who are better than Baldwin.
Believability score: 1