Harbaugh: Interception was Kap's fault, not Randy Moss'
First-Team All-Pro linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis cleaned out their lockers on Tuesday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SANTA CLARA -- Just as thousands of Ravens fans marched their team to a capacity crowd waiting at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, 20 or so faithful 49ers fans waited patiently by the exit to the team's practice facility in Santa Clara, hoping to get their hands on the remains of a thrilling and anti-climactic 2012 season.
Inside the locker room, 49ers players were doing their best to get rid of those remains. Linebacker Larry Grant tossed an old sneaker into one of the many garbage cans brimming with worn cleats, gloves and training equipment.
"All of it," Grant said.
Most of the equipment is actually donated, not disposed of, but the players' sentiments remain.
"We came up five yards short," head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "It was a devastating loss."
Randy Moss has been criticized for "alligator-arming" his attempt at Colin Kaepernick's pass in the second quarter that became the first-ever interception thrown by a 49ers quarterback in a Super Bowl.
According to head coach Jim Harbaugh, the blame is misplaced. It lies with Kaepernick.
"I think the ball was thrown too high," Harbaugh said. "Randy was running a crossing route. I think that's one Colin would like to have back."
Harbaugh continued, describing what an incredible football player Kaepernick was all season long, but for this one play, he was less than legendary.
With consecutive trips to the NFL's Final Four, Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh are building a bully. Pro Bowl strong safety Donte Whitner was asked Tuesday if the team has the makings of a dynasty.
"Yeah, we have the makings," he responded.
"We take steps every year. Last year we made it to the NFC Championship with no expectations. This year we made it to the Super Bowl and five yards from the championship.
"Next year we gonna win this thing. Nobody cares about second place."
It's not taking place Tuesday, but Justin Smith is having surgery on his partially torn left triceps tendon this week.
The 12-year veteran still has one season left on his 6-year, $45 million contract with the 49ers, and he plans to be there for it.
"I'm not going to retire after this year," said Smith at age 33. "I would like to come back and try to get (to the Super Bowl) again. I realize my career is definitely winding down. I'm not saying I'm going to play another eight years or something like that. I want to play at a high level."
[RELATED: Justin Smith will return for at least another season]
In order to get back to that desired level of play, he has months of rehabilitation ahead.
"Two to three months, as a guess," offered Jim Harbaugh Tuesday.
[RELATED: Smith faces three-month rehab]
It was Jim Harbaugh's final official press conference of the season, so we'll leave you with a few of his finer responses:
Is there anything specifically you are looking for in this year's NFL Draft?
What is your sense of personal accomplishment?
"I don't have that list in front of me."
How would you describe the character of this group?
"Not to use character in the definition of character, but they're a high-character group."
You won't be without quotations from the 49ers head coach too long, though. He's scheduled to participate in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for the second year in a row. No word on if Colin Kaepernick will be his caddy, as it was Alex Smith a year ago.