Yes, the Browns reached out to the 49ers about a possible trade for Jim Harbaugh, 49ers owner Jed York said today, but the overture was quickly turned down. York, who has had on-and-off contract discussions with Harbaugh, also reiterated what he said in December: "We want Jim to be our head coach, and we've said that very clearly."
When Pro Football Talk's initial report about about a near-trade of Harbaugh to Cleveland first surfaced Friday, York went onto Twitter to say it wasn't true. He elaborated today, confirming an earlier report in The Bee that the Browns, the only team without a head coach when the 49ers season ended Jan. 19, initially called to ask about offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. They followed that by asking about Harbaugh.
How far did the conversation get? "Not far at all," York said. "We had no interest in entering those discussions."
ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported that a first-round pick was not part of the compensation the Browns offered, lending credence to the stance that any trade discussion was short-lived.
Asked why he initially offered a flat denial of the PFT story, York said it's because the story wasn't true. The original story said the two sides nearly pulled off a trade for Harbaugh and that it was Harbaugh who ultimately decided not to leave the 49ers.
Asked why he waited to address the story, York said he and the 49ers have a policy to keep trade discussions private. "We keep calls to ourselves," he said. "I see no reason talking about another team - that's how we do business."