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February 1, 2013
Generation gap: Jim Harbaugh limiting talks this week with son Jay, a Ravens staffer

NEW ORLEANS -- Turns out Jim vs. John isn't the only Harbaugh family dynamic in the Super Bowl. There's also Jim vs. Jay -- as in the 49ers head coach and his oldest son. After serving as an undergraduate assistant for the football team at Oregon State, Jay Harbaugh is currently working for John's Baltimore Ravens.

The Harbaughs have kept this part of the family narrative fairly quiet (you may have heard the head coaches are brothers). Jack Harbaugh, father of the head coaches, mentioned at his news conference Wednesday that Jay is "doing grunt work (for Baltimore as the) assistant strength coach. ... He does video and works in the weight room and he just graduated from Oregon State."

At their joint news conference this morning, Jim said he's "thankful and proud that Jay is doing what he loves to do" with the Ravens, and he hears Jay is doing "a phenomenal job." With the teams preparing to play each other for the Lombardi Trophy, though, it has made for limited communication between father and son the past week.

"This week has been tough. I haven't been talking to him or calling him or anything," Jim said. "Sending him a few texts just letting him know how I feel about it. I don't want to get him where people are thinking I'm talking to him. But I've heard he's done a great job and that means the world."

John Harbaugh said Jay has been a valuable addition to the Ravens.

"Maybe that'll tip the scale," John quipped. "Maybe that'll be our edge, will be Jay. He is really good. He's a hard-working guy."

Neither brother strayed far from character during their 25-minute news conference this morning. John got things started by welcoming the dozens of media members in attendance, commenting on "what an honor it is" for the brothers to be on stage together and acknowledging the other Harbaugh family members in the crowd. Jim added: "I concur."

Jim did give a glimpse at the source of his notorious competitiveness when a reporter asked about mother Jackie Harbaugh's influence on the brothers' coaching styles.

"There's nobody in the family that has more competitive fire than my mother," Jim said. "She competes like a maniac."

Though their jobs look pretty safe right now, both Jim and John said they would embrace the idea of coaching together at some point down the road if the opportunity came up.

"We've had that conversation in the past," John said. "It just never really worked out timing-wise. But I would love to work for Jim. It would be the greatest thing in the world."

Along with their parents, John acknowledged the presence of his maternal grandfather Joe Cipiti, "97 years old and going strong!"

So make that four generations in New Orleans this week.

-- Matt Kawahara


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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