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49ers GM: Harbaugh 'always wanted' Michigan job

The Sports Xchange

San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke declined to respond to Jim Harbaugh's assertion last week that his departure from the franchise was not a mutual decision.

San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke declined to respond to Jim Harbaugh's assertion last week that his departure from the franchise was not a mutual decision.

INDIANAPOLIS - 

San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke declined to respond to Jim Harbaugh's assertion last week that his departure from the franchise was not a mutual decision.

"I have no response to that," Baalke said at the Scouting Combine on Wednesday. "Jim's moved on. We've moved on. He's got a heck of a job. We've got a new head football coach. We're trying to get ready for the draft, free agency and the offseason program."

Harbaugh and the 49ers parted ways following the end of last season, and it came after nearly a year of speculation about a rift between Harbaugh and the front office. Harbaugh has since taken over at the University of Michigan, and said on a podcast last week that he was told after a loss at the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 14 that he would not be the team's coach in 2015.

Harbaugh led the 49ers to three NFC Championship Games and one appearance in the Super Bowl. While mostly staying away from sparring with Harbaugh, Baalke did insinuate the Michigan job was one that he always wanted.

"He's got a heck of a job," Baalke said. "To be the head coach at the University of Michigan is a heck of a football job. And I know that's something that he always wanted to do. We've moved on as well."

Baalke also sidestepped questions about a report that former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase would have been the 49ers' head coach if not for a disagreement on who the coordinators would be. The 49ers ended up promoting defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach and Gase signed on as the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator.

The team did attempt to keep defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who also agree to join new head coach John Fox's staff in Chicago.

It all played out. It all depended who the head coach was going to be," Baalke said, referring to Fangio. "Everyone that we interviewed had a different way to approach things and there were no mandates made to any of them through the process. It was a process where we went in, we talked to the coaches, we had them kind of give us the idea of what they would like to do with the staff and we went from there."

* Baalke applauded quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decisions to work out in Arizona with former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.

"Colin's working his tail off right now," Baalke said. "The only reason you go down there and do the things he's doing is to get better. That's the mindset and I think he feels comfortable with where he's at and hopefully that transfers to the field."

* Baalke said the team still intends to work on bringing back running back Frank Gore for the 2015 season. Gore turns 32 in May, but is coming off his eighth 1,000-yard rushing season in 2014 despite the team's inconsistent passing game.

"I still think he's got it in him," Baalke said. "I know that he still believes it. I talked to him the other day on the phone and we're going to do what we can to get him back as a 49er."


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