The San Francisco 49ers lost embattled head coach Jim Harbaugh to the University of Michigan this offseason. Harbaugh left the team by "mutual consent" after having a falling out with 49ers CEO Jed York, but his locker room didn't exactly come to his defense when the strife between coach and management began. On a new episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, 49ers guard Alex Boone spoke to Andrea Kremer about Harbaugh, giving some clues as to why the 49ers felt like they needed to move on.
“He does a great job of giving you that spark, that initial boom. But after a while, you just want to kick his ass... He just keeps pushing you, and you’re like, ‘Dude, we got over the mountain. Stop. Let go.’ He kind of wore out his welcome.
“I think he just pushed guys too far. He wanted too much, demanded too much, expected too much. You know, ‘We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this.’ And you’d be like, ‘This guy might be clinically insane. He’s crazy.’ . . . I think that if you’re stuck in your ways enough, eventually people are just going to say, ‘Listen, we just can’t work with this.'”
Boone's quotes are consistent with what past 49ers have said of Harbaugh. Last fall, Randy Moss said that Harbaugh "treated us men like we were still college kids at Stanford." At a certain point, it seems, these NFL vets wanted more respect and warmth from Harbaugh, not just the 24/7/365 "GO, GO, GO" mentality. Everyone needs a breather. Not this guy though:
"Why won't... ...this man... ...stop yelling at me?"
Through his criticism, however, Boone did note that “the players had nothing to do with him getting fired,” perhaps disingenuously placing the blame for Harbaugh's departure at the hands of ownership—not the players who, given Boone's words, seemed more than happy to watch their coach head off to college.
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