Jim Harbaugh was close to freaking out and throwing headsets while wearing brown and orange, rather than black and red, in 2014.
The Cleveland Browns attempted to trade with the San Francisco 49ers for Harbaugh, multiple sources told Pro Football Talk. A deal was in place that involved “multiple draft picks.”
Harbaugh ultimately vetoed the trade that would have placed him in the same division as his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh is 36-11-1 in three seasons with the 49ers. The 49ers have reached the NFC Championship Game in three straight seasons. They lost to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
The Browns eventually settled on former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
That the 49ers were even willing to give up Harbaugh is notable.
UPDATE 5:02 p.m.: The Browns did not deny the trade in a statement they released to the media.
“The team conducted an extensive coaching search, and explored several options,” Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert told Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. “That search produced an outstanding head coach in Mike Pettine and we’re excited about his future with the club.”
A 49ers source, however, told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the report is “completely false. Ridiculous.”
Joe Lull of 92.3 The Fan tweeted that it was actually Harbaugh that asked for the trade and that the Browns weren’t willing to give up the required compensation. Lull reported that Harbaugh and 49ers general manager Trent Baalke don’t get along.
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