Haslam confirms Browns talked to 49ers about Harbaugh

Haslam confirms Browns talked to 49ers about Harbaugh
February 23, 2014, 3:15 pm
Share This Post
There was an opportunity there, and it didn't materialize.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on Jim Harbaugh

Programming note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco is on the ground in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. Check back for his coverage all weekend and get the full report on SportsNet Central every night at 6 and 10:30 p.m.

Coach Jim Harbaugh had conversations with the Cleveland Browns. And the Browns confirmed Sunday they had talks about Harbaugh.

Harbaugh revealed during a press conference on Jan. 21, two days after the 49ers’ season-ending loss to the Seattle Seahawks, that he spoke with the Browns “regarding our coaches.”

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula had attracted some level of interest for head-coaching openings. Roman and Tomsula interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings head-coaching job. Harbaugh did not specify which assistants had drawn the Browns’ interest.

Obviously, the Browns were also interested in Harbaugh. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed Sunday in a comment to USA Today that there was some dialogue with the 49ers about Harbaugh.

"There was an opportunity there, and it didn't materialize," Haslam said.

The 49ers denied the Pro Football Talk report on Friday that the club nearly traded Harbaugh to the Browns for draft picks. PFT reported that Harbaugh declined the trade.

[RATTO: Trade report reveals strained interplay in 49ers front office]

Team CEO Jed York wrote on Twitter, “Report isn’t true.”

In a text message to CSN Bay Area’s Dave Feldman, Harbaugh wrote, “For the record, I echo Jed York’s comment…’isn’t true.’ I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us involving me.”

Later, when approached by CSNBayArea.com at the NFL Scouting Combine, Harbaugh said, “The report? Ridiculous. Ridiculous. No. REE-diculous.”

[RELATED: Harbaugh calls report of near-trade 'ridiculous']

Harbaugh has two years remaining on the five-year, $25 million contract he signed in January 2011. York and Harbaugh failed to reach a contract extension during talks last offseason. Thus far, there has been movement toward a new deal this offseason, either.

Before the report of the Browns' interest in Harbaugh broke on Friday, general manager Trent Baalke addressed his working relationship with Harbaugh during the draft process.

"We continue to work hard at it," Baalke said. "What we’re trying to do is get it right for the 49ers. And the best way to get it right is for everybody to be on the same page and to work hard together and try to make the best decisions that you can for the team and the organization as a whole. We’ll continue to do that. From that standpoint, nothing’s changed.”

    More Team Talk