Harbaugh feeling loss of 'Grandpa Joe'

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
10:50
PM ET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Sunday, was an emotional day for San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh
It all hit him late in the evening after he returned from a long flight home after the 49ers qualified for the NFC title game with a 23-10 win at Carolina. He watched the television reply of the game and was struck that Fox announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman mentioned on the air that Harbaugh's 98-year-old grandfather, Joe Cipiti, died in the morning before the game.

"They just did a wonderful job," Harbaugh said of the broadcasters. "I wanted to thank them for that. Both Joe and Troy, the way they talked about it, you could hear it in their voice that they understood family and they just had a great understanding of what our grandpa meant to us. So, I appreciate those guys for that."

Harbaugh said he shared a moment with the team in the locker room after the game about his grandfather, who Harbaugh said was a big 49ers' supporter.

"I talked to the guys after the game and told them what they meant to Grandpa Joe," Harbaugh said. "And they all remembered him and felt great ... He was watching the Green Bay game a week ago, and he took credit for Colin Kaepernick's performance. He said when he put the 49ers hat on the 49ers scored a touchdown. And he's just a wonderful, amazing man."

Harbaugh said he may not be able to make his grandfather's funeral services Friday because of preparations for the NFC Championship Game at Seattle.

"I may not. Bit of a crushing blow there," Harbaugh said. "But they're having them Friday and I don't think I'll be able to make it. But Grandpa Joe is with me and I'm with him and he knows that."

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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