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January 28, 2013
Harbaugh brothers unite against Obama's football comment


Who says Jim Harbaugh is the less-entertaining of the Harbaugh brothers when it comes to media sessions? In fact, it's safe to say the 49ers head coach beat his older brother 1-0 in press conferences Monday after a charm-filled session that had reporters checking to see whether they were in the correct conference room listening to the right Harbaugh.

Some excerpts:

On President Obama saying that if he had a son, he would have misgivings about watching him play football:
"I have a four-month old, almost five-month old son, Jack Harbaugh, and if President Obama feels that way then there will be a little bit less competition for Jack Harbaugh when he gets old. It's still early. Like I said, Jack is only five months old. He is a really big kid. He has an enormous head. We don't have a forty- (yard dash) time on him yet, but his wingspan is plus one, and as soon as he grows into that head he is going to be something. It's early, but expectations are high for young Jack."

On the origin of the pen he wears around his neck on game days, which a reporter called "a necklace":
"Well, I take great offense that you call it a necklace. It's a whistle. It's a coaches' whistle that coaches have long worn around their neck. I believe every coach should have a whistle. It's hard to imagine going out to practice without a whistle. Then I just put a pen onto the whistle string. It's not complicated at all."

On the impact of losing to the Giants in last year's NFC Championship game:
"Life is full of bitter disappointments, and that was one. We were not defeated. You can kill a man but you can't defeat him, not as long as he has hope. We started from ground zero to approach a new season."

Of course, the Monday competition wasn't a shutout. John Harbaugh had his press-conference moments as well when the Ravens arrived at their hotel in the afternoon. He said he liked his brother's reaction to Obama's comment:
"It's one less kid to compete against. Football's a great game. And everybody who's played the game know what a great game it is and what it provides young people and what it provided someone like me - an opportunity to grow as a person. It's challenging, it's tough, hard. There's no game like football. It's the type of sport that brings out the best in you. It kind of shows you who you are."

John Harbaugh addressed the media in a black, double-breasted suit with a purple and gold striped tie. What does he think of Jim's khakis-and-fleece uniform?
"It's a good look for him. It cuts down on drag time in the morning, fewer decisions to make."

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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