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Monday, February 24, 2014
49ers/Harbaugh story won't go away

By Bill Williamson

I've spent the day in meetings at ESPN headquarters.

As I catch up on the day's events, I am not surprised by the primary topic: Yes, the Jim Harbaugh situation. As I wrote in a previous post, this type of attention is to be expected after a bombshell story such as the one involving the Cleveland Browns' interest in Harbaugh that surfaced Friday.

Harbaugh
All the speculation about Harbaugh's issues with the 49ers' front office have bubbled up to the surface.

Perhaps closing out the Cleveland portion of this tale (I have a feeling, though, the Harbaugh story is far from over) 49ers' owner Jed York told the Sacramento Bee that the Browns had interest and the 49ers quickly scuttled talks. That is in line with what I've heard all along.

Look, we all review the film of our decisions, but I think the 49ers may regret not initially telling their side of the story Friday. It could have quickly ended the talk.

The most intriguing aspect of the York interview with The Bee was that he said he expects contract talks with Harbaugh to resume after the May draft. I guess there is no hurry to do it, but a deal must get done this calendar year or Harbaugh's future will be a feeding frenzy next year as teams try to make a deal for him entering his final season.

Meanwhile, the Harbaugh-49ers saga is now Topic A in the NFL. Hey, it's February. Juicy talk rules.

Here are some topics for your 49ers' hand-wringing pleasure:

ESPN's Ashley Fox believes the 49ers' success starts with Harbaugh. He has led a team that was irrelevant before he got there to three straight NFC title games.

ESPN Insider Mike Sando thinks the draft is the key for the 49ers to continue to their success Insider.

Grantland's Bill Barnwell tries to make sense of the entire saga.

In other 49ers' related-news:

Backup safety Craig Dahl took a $600,000 pay reduction to stay with the team. It has been in the works for several days. The open big remaining pay-cut question is cornerback Carlos Rogers. The team is not expected to pay his $6 million salary. If he doesn't take a large pay cut he will likely be released.