Jed York

York ‘excited' former 49ers coach Harbaugh returning to NFL

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Nearly a decade’s worth of time has done enough to settle any differences between 49ers CEO Jed York and the team's former coach, Jim Harbaugh. 

Well, at least that’s how York has made it seem after recently praising Harbaugh, whom he “mutually” parted ways with back in 2014, and celebrating his return to the NFL. 

During an interview with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on "The TK Show," York had big words for the architect behind the 49ers’ Super Bowl appearance in 2013 and collegiate football’s recently crowned champion, who also was recently introduced as the Los Angeles Chargers’ new head coach. 

“I congratulated them when they [Michigan] won the championship game,” York told Kawakami. “ We’ve texted back and forth. I think Jim is a helluva coach. I think it’s a great spot for him. I’m excited for the Chargers. I think they will be very, very successful.” 

During Harbaugh's four seasons in San Francisco, he brought a lot of change and success for the Faithful, leading his teams to three straight NFC Championships from 2011 to 2013. 

Reflecting on the origin point of that 49ers era and how it parallels with Harbaugh’s new NFL project, York sees a successful future for the Chargers.

“I think it is a team that had talent, that didn’t achieve what they hoped to,” York added. “I don’t want to speak too much about somebody else's team, but it’s certainly a talented team. I think he has the chance to do really, really well with the Chargers.” 

In 2012, the 49ers under Harbaugh ended a 16-year Super Bowl appearance drought, which they ultimately lost to the Baltimore Ravens, led by his brother John Harbaugh.

Two years later, after the 49ers' 8-8 season, Harbaugh and San Francisco parted ways, which the coach described as a moment in which he felt he didn’t “leave the 49ers” but instead “felt like the 49er hierarchy left him.” 

Ever since, however, York and Harbaugh have each done their part in chipping away at their rocky past, with the 49ers CEO bringing Harbaugh to Levi’s Stadium in 2022 to celebrate the 10-year reunion of the 2012 49ers. 

York now reflects with maturity, prioritizing the good memories from the Harbaugh era.

“We'd connected a little bit before that [10-year reunion] and then we invited him to come out, and told him that we set it up for that week because Michigan had a bye that week,” York said. 

“You’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of your team going to the Super Bowl, it means something. And I think with anything, people mature, time passes and you tend to remember a lot more of the good things than maybe not-so-good things. 

“I’m happy for him. Again, he’s a heck of a coach. He will do a heck of a job.” 

And he is certainly rooting for his former coach in his return to the NFL.

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