Harbaugh: Fresh start for Jenkins, Baldwin
Jim Harbaugh: "I was rejected by a team, sent to another team, and with the next team, my signature years came." (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Will Jon Baldwin's fresh start in San Francisco be fruitful? (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday did not offer any explanation for A.J. Jenkins' failure with the 49ers.
But on the day the 49ers traded Jenkins, a first-round pick in the 2012 draft, to the Kansas City Chiefs for Jon Baldwin, a first-round selection in the 2011 draft, Harbaugh said he believes both players and teams can benefit.
"Feel like it's a fresh start for both young men and it can be a positive for both of them and for the two teams," Harbaugh said.
[RELATED: Jenkins traded to Chiefs for Baldwin]
"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," Harbaugh said on July 29, 2012. "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."
When asked Monday what happened to prompt the 49ers to cut ties with Jenkins after just one season, Harbaugh instead chose to speak about his Chicago-to-Indianapolis move as an NFL quarterback.
"A.J., the why, and that kind of thing. . . I can speak from personal experience," Harbaugh said. "I was rejected by a team, sent to another team, and with the next team, my signature years came. So it can be a real positive. That's what everybody hopes for in this situation.
"A.J. is a very talented player. He's never been an issue or a problem as a teammate. He competes. He works very hard. There's no reason that both these guys can't end up having a great career."
Jenkins did not catch a pass in his only season with the 49ers. Baldwin (6 foot 4, 230 pounds) caught just 41 passes for 579 yards and two touchdowns in 26 games over his first two seasons with the Chiefs.
Harbaugh said he has known of Baldwin since his junior year in high school when he was the No. 1 wide receiver recruit. Harbaugh's brother in law, Tom Crean, then the coach at Marquette, recruited Baldwin to play basketball.
Marquette was the only non-football school Baldwin considered before choosing to play football at Pitt, Harbaugh said. As a junior in 2010, Baldwin caught 55 passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns. He declared for the NFL draft after that season.