Just as he didn’t want to talk about the head coaching opening at the University of Texas last year, Jim Harbaugh is staying mum on the University of Michigan opening this year.
“I really don’t talk about any other job than the one I have,” Harbaugh said Thursday. “Or talk about anybody else’s process.”
On Wednesday, multiple reports surfaced that Michigan is willing to pay Harbaugh $8 million over six seasons to be its coach. Harbaugh played quarterback there in the 1980s and proudly refers to himself as a “Michigan man.” The reports also said that after initially rejecting the school’s advances, Harbaugh has begun to reconsider.
Still, it’s hard to see Harbaugh, whose brother, John, won a Super Bowl in 2012 with the Baltimore Ravens and whose arch rival, Pete Carroll, won one last year with the Seattle Seahawks, stepping away from the NFL without his own title. Harbaugh has one more year on his contract, which would pay him $5 million.
Harbaugh said before the season that he believes in honoring his contracts. He reiterated that Thursday.
“Yeah, I’ve said I’m going to finish this until the end,” he said. “My focus is the same as the players’ focus, it’s the same as the coaches’ focus, the focus on the practice field, the focus in meetings, by our players, by our coaches and by me. That is our focus – this football game against the San Diego Chargers. And playing well and winning. That’s where our energy and focus is.”
Gore practices – Frank Gore went through a limited practice after sitting out the first two sessions of the week and is on pace to play Saturday against the Chargers, Harbaugh said.
The 49ers’ all-time leading rusher was in a blue, non-contact jersey Thursday. That implies Gore is in the exertion stage of the league’s post-concussion protocol and must only pass the simulated-contact stage to be able to play Saturday.
On Wednesday, Gore said he has felt “normal” since Sunday’s game. Still, passing the final stage is not a mere formality. Right tackle Anthony Davis suffered a concussion Nov. 16 and remains in a blue, no-contact jersey this week.
Gore’s main backup, Carlos Hyde, has not practiced this week because of an ankle injury. The team’s only healthy running backs are Alfonso Smith and Phillip Tanner, who was signed Wednesday.
Et cetera – Harbaugh said nose tackle Mike Purcell would be elevated from the practice squad to the active roster for Saturday’s game. The same could happen with practice squad tight end Xavier Grimble.
▪ Linebacker Michael Wilhoite (hip) was back at practice after missing Wednesday’s session. Wilhoite is one of only four 49ers defenders – Justin Smith, Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid are the others – on pace to start all 16 games.
▪ Wide receiver Michael Crabtree (knee) returned to practice but receiver Stevie Johnson (knee) did not.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.