ORLANDO, Fla. - Yes, there's been some tension at 49ers headquarters when it comes to fiery Jim Harbaugh and feisty Trent Baalke. "I think I've said this before: 95 percent of the time they're on the same page," team owner Jed York said on Tuesday. "Five percent of the time is gets really interesting."
But according to York, tension isn't always a bad ingredient, and it certainly hasn't hindered the 49ers in recent seasons.
"We've been competing for the Super Bowl - realistically competing for the Super Bowl - for the last three years," York said during a break at the owners' meetings here. "They get along. They're just grinding. They want a ring. And they're trying to battle and fight to get a ring. And sometimes it wears on people. But I like that tension," he continued. "I think they like that tension. And I think both of them compete better when there's something to compete against."
Stories about a cold war between Harbaugh and Baalke, the team's general manager, began emerging last month after news broke that the Browns had inquired about trading for the 49ers' head coach. One national report said that the two don't even talk, communicating instead through emails.
Both York and Baalke on Tuesday insisted the portrait being drawn of two men constantly at each other's throat is overblown. The coach and general manager, in fact, have been observed consulting with one another at the league's hotel in Orlando, and they emerged from one of the many meetings here side by side and laughing.
Said Baalke: "He's our football coach, he's a damn good football coach, and we expect him to be our football coach for a long time."