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February 22, 2013
Combine notes: Harbaugh says he'll respect "the box"

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Harbaugh said Friday he has no problem coaching inside the box. Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will emphasize a seldom-enforced rule -- making sure coaches don't stray onto the field to argue play calls.

Guilty coaches first will get a warning, then a penalty and even could draw fines, according to a report by CBS Sports.

Harbaugh quickly has built a reputation as one of the most animated head coaches, and he escaped the coaching box -- a prescribed space on the sideline -- more than once in the playoffs. He shrugged at the renewed emphasis. "That's the way it's been," he said of the rules. " ... If they say, 'Don't step out on the field,' you don't step out on the field."

Harbaugh, however, said there might be an issue when teams are running plays close to the end zone and officials are out of a coach's sight lines and out of earshot. That was the case at the end of the Super Bowl when both he and his brother, John, were stationed outside of the traditional box.

"Well, sometimes you have to go down to call a time out," he said. "The officials tell you to go down there. If they're down on the 10 (yard line) or the 5, you've got to go down there to get their attention because they're not looking over at the coaching box."

Harbaugh said those situations might get "interesting." "I haven't seen the emphasis yet," he said. "I haven't seen the language on that."

Et cetera

* Harbaugh said he didn't think receiver Mario Manningham would be ready for the start of training camp in late July. The 49ers wideout suffered an ACL tear on Dec. 23.

* Asked whether David Akers would have a chance to compete for the 49ers kicking job in the upcoming season, Harbaugh said, "Yeah, it's a possibility." Akers missed more field-goal attempts than any other kicker this past season and is due to earn more than $3 million.

* Harbaugh said he hoped the 49ers would strike a long-term deal with tight end Delanie Walker, who is scheduled to become a free agent March 12. Harbaugh called Walker the team's "Swiss-Army Knife." "Yes, by all means," he said of a long-term deal. "Yes I would be in favor of that."

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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