Harbaugh lashes out at 'clueless' critics, defends Jenkins

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Harbaugh lashes out at 'clueless' critics, defends Jenkins

SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh made an unscheduled trip to the podium at 49ers training camp on Sunday to deliver an impassioned defense of rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins.

"A.J Jenkins was an outstanding football player when he got here," Harbaugh began. "His progress has been very, very good, and exceeded expectations.

"For those -- the scribes, pundits, so-called experts -- who have gone so far as to say that he's going to be a bust, should just stop. I recommend that because they're making themselves look more clueless than they already did.

"I'll go on record: A.J. is going to be an outstanding football player. So far in camp and what he's done in the offseason has led us to believe nothing but he'll be an outstanding football player in the National Football League."

Some local and national reports have labeled Jenkins as a disappointment, based on the 49ers' offseason program. Jenkins was the 49ers' first-round draft pick, selected 30th overall out of Illinois.

Harbaugh did not specify which reports raised his ire. On Saturday, Jenkins had a busy and productive day in practice, as documented by CSNBayArea.com.

When asked if he expects Jenkins to be a major contributor as a rookie, Harbaugh answered, "I expect him to have a great practice today. He's had two outstanding practices since we've been here in camp. It's been consistent, steady improvement every time he's come out here on the field or when we've been in a meeting. And it was already outstanding to begin with. If you recall the first day he was here at the rookie minicamp, I said, 'This is the best group of young receivers that I've ever been a part of in football, as a player or a coach.' It was good to start with and it's been better and better each day.

"And, yeah, I'm going to keep track of some of these names of so-called experts who were making these comments. And there's going to be an 'I told you so.' I foresee that happening."

Jenkins got off to a slow start on the first day of rookie minicamp when he admittedly was not ready to handle the high work load. Harbaugh talked about the level of conditioning of the entire rookie class.

"And I said they would eventually get there," Harbaugh said. "And they are there. And A.J. Jenkins, specifically. His conditioning is tip-top."

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

Agent: 49ers to re-sign running back DuJuan Harris

PHOENIX – Free-agent running back DuJuan Harris will re-sign with the 49ers, his agent said.

Harris, 28, appeared in 10 games for the 49ers last season with one start. He rushed for 138 yards on 38 attempts. He also caught eight passes for 115 yards.

Harris has also seen time with Jacksonville, Green Bay and Seattle in his four-year NFL career.

The 49ers did not tender Harris as a restricted free agent, but agent Andy Simms revealed his client will re-sign with the 49ers via Twitter. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and defensive lineman Chris Jones are the only other free agents the 49ers have re-signed.

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."