The reported rift between the San Francisco 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly stemmed from an off-season pursuit of Peyton Manning.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith reportedly asked Harbaugh about the team's interest in Manning. Harbaugh had flown to North Carolina to meet and work out the Broncos QB but, according to team sources, neglected to tell Smith.
Last week, NFL Network commentator Deion Sanders said that 49ers players wanted Harbaugh out. "They're not on the same page.'' Trent Dilfer echoed those comments on ESPN Radio, stating the environment with the team had "become almost toxic."
Harbaugh has denied both reports. "Personally I think that's a bunch of crap,'' the coach said on Monday. ''People say what they say," adding, ''When you're talking about unnamed sources, if somebody's got a good story to tell, they ought to put their name to it. If I had a good story to tell, I'd want to put my name to it, so I don't put a lot of credibility into the unnamed source."
In four years with the 49ers, Harbaugh has led the team to a 38-13-1 record, including one Super Bowl appearance. Talks to extend his five-year contract have been put on hold.
San Francisco is currently 2-2 on the season.
-- Alex Suskind