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January 30, 2013
Pool report: wind, rain send 49ers indoors; OLBs limited


John Clayton today did what no reporter has done since Jim Harbaugh has become a head coach: He watched a full, in-season practice by one of Harbaugh's teams. Clayton is the pool reporter for the NFC, which means he watches the Super Bowl practice and then speaks with Harbaugh afterward. Here's his report:

John Clayton
Pro Football Writers of America

NEW ORLEANS -- Winds from the aftermath of a Wednesday storm sent the San Francisco 49ers into the New Orleans Saints indoor practice facility for their first full practice in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII.

But the 49ers also breezed through the 95-minute session so efficiently that head coach Jim Harbaugh got through all of his team's work with approximately 15 minutes to spare. To say the least, the practice was spirited and focused.

"We were going to go outside and practice but the winds were a little too much," Harbaugh said. "We were worried about taking the lifts (for team photographers) too high. The winds were 20 to 25 miles an hour and we don't want to send our guys up there in those conditions."

The weird site was seeing the practice with a Sean Payton "Do Your Job" picture overlooking every 49er play. Harbaugh, in fact, stood near an endzone in which a Saints World Championship picture hung proudly above him, and Harbaugh had no problem with that.

"We're in their house," Harbaugh said. "We try to respect their hospitality."

Despite the winds, the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens got a break when the rainy weather cleared up before noon. Lines of storm cells went through Southern Louisiana with heavy rain and threats of bad winds Wednesday morning, causing the NFL to make arrangements for indoor facilities for both teams if needed.

The 49ers are training at the Saints headquarters in Metairie, La, but they had no worries because the Saints have an indoor practice facility. Because Tulane University doesn't have an indoor practice area, the Ravens would have been forced to practice at the Saints complex, which would have put both Harbaughs in the same practice facility on the same afternoon five days before Super Bowl.

Thanks to the improving weather, each Harbaugh had their separate practices on time. The 49ers would have had to move their practice up an hour to accommodate but that wasn't needed.

"The Ravens had access to it," Harbaugh said. "That would have been no trouble at all."

The 49ers had all 53 players on the field, but linebacker Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) and Aldon Smith (shoulder) were limited. Tight end Garrett Celek, who missed some time last week with a foot injury, practiced without limitation.

Responding to reports from the Wednesday interview session that Brooks has an AC Joint sprain, Harbaugh said, "I don't get into what those guys have. If they want to give that information, that's fine. I always feel uncomfortable saying what a player has."

The 49ers worked on all aspects of their game - offense, defense and special teams.

"I thought our guys were excited to get out here on the practice field," Harbaugh said. "The team understands a lot more about the Super Bowl. But they were excited to get out there on the field and do what they do."

Harbaugh once again praised the focus on this team.

"That is something we don't coach them up on, not bringing cameras or video cameras, no doing it or not doing it." Harbaugh said. "We trust our team because that's who we are. This is the most focused group on unity and winning I've been around."

A similar practice is scheduled for Thursday.


49ers Wednesday Practice Participation Report

Limited: LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)

Full: LB Navorro Bowman (shoulder), CB Tarell Brown (shoulder), TE Garrett Celek (foot), RB Frank Gore (shoulder, ankle), LB Clark Haggans (shoulder), G Mike Iupati (shoulder), RB LaMichael James (finger), RB Bruce Miller (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (elbow, triceps), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)


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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