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November 21, 2013
Cardinal sin: RG III had a chance to be QB II under Harbaugh at Stanford

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Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III went one-two in the 2012 draft. It turns out that at one point they were one-two in Jim Harbaugh's heart as well.

Griffin this week confirmed that, back in 2007, then Stanford coach Harbaugh was pressing hard for Griffin to join his Cardinal club. Harbaugh already had reeled in Luck, who like Griffin was from Texas, and he tried to sell Griffin on a two-quarterback system.

Harbaugh spent time in Griffin's home. Griffin spent time at Stanford. In the end, however, he decided to stay in state and joined coach Art Briles at Baylor.

One of Harbaugh's annual rites since he's become an NFL head coach has been to go to the scouting combine and ask former recruiting targets why they ultimately turned him down. "Yeah, he did bring that up," Griffin said with a laugh when asked about last year's combine.

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Was it a funny or serious conversation? "It was a funny conversation," Griffin said. "He really wanted me to go there to play quarterback. I liked it at that time (but) at the end of the day just figured it wasn't the best option for me. He wasn't happy about it, but he was still very professional about it."

Griffin said he wasn't turned off about the prospect of sharing playing time with Luck. "I was graduating early and Stanford was allowing early graduates to be enrolled," he said. "That was the biggest issue."

During the 2012 combine, Harbaugh remembered thinking that Griffin would be part of his quarterback tree. "Thought we were really doing well with Robert," he said. "Loved looking at his transcript. He was a 4.0 student in high school. His test scores were extremely high. I mean, this to me was a Stanford guy. This was a Stanford kid. And then ... he was going to go (elsewhere). That left a bruise. I really liked Robert. I really wanted Robert on our team."

- 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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