How do the 49ers players feel about Jim Harbaugh? “We love everything he does,” former 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore said on CBS' 'We Need to Talk' on Tuesday.
“Coach Harbaugh is a football player,” Lattimore said. “He loves football. If he could be out there right now he would. He’s so competitive. The vibe in the locker room is that the players love him.”
His words, of course, echo what every 49ers player has said on the record about Harbaugh's standing inside the locker room. But it's a bit more significant in that Lattimore is no longer with the team and no longer wants to play football. That is, he's free to say whatever he wants without pressure from teammates or a sense that he needs to toe the company line in order to get a job at some point in the future.
Are there some players upset at how the season have gone and do they blame Harbaugh? Sure. Probably. That's no different than any Harbaugh-coached team going back to his time at Stanford. And there are some former 49ers running backs, Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James, who likely would have different takes on their one-time head coach.
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But there's never been a sense or a vibe that significant numbers of players or significant members of the locker room have soured on Harbaugh as was the case with previous head coaches.
The 49ers drafted Lattimore in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He never fully recovered from a devastating knee injury suffered in college and never played a snap for San Francisco.
“I put blood, sweat and tears into everything,” he said on CBS. The injury “was painful, and I became just a body after that. I did not feel like myself at all (with) any movements that I was doing – running the ball or catching the ball. I knew football was over with for me. I had to make a grown-up decision. I cried. I prayed about it. I’m at peace with it.”
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.