Jim Harbaugh wanted his final game with the 49ers to be as routine as possible. The pregame, at least, has been anything but.
With a phalanx of photographers waiting for him to emerge from the 49ers locker room on the south end of the stadium, Harbaugh instead came out of a side door on the east side and then chatted with Cardinals counterpart Bruce Arians for a few minutes.
When that broke up, team CEO Jed York spoke briefly with Harbaugh at the 42-yard line. What could they have been talking about? It was likely to set up a meeting among Harbaugh, York and general manager Trent Baalke to discuss Harbaugh, who has a year remaining on his contract, will exit the team. That meeting is expected to occur either tonight or tomorrow morning.
Finally, Harbaugh found himself at the center of the 49ers' pre-game speech. Patrick Willis, one of 18 49ers on injured reserve, pulled the head coach to the middle of the scrum before Willis rallied his team. It's a safe bet that the players are dedicating the game to their head coach.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.