Grab bag: Harbaugh’s prediction

Jim Harbaugh didn’t throw a single pass during his final NFL season, but he did make quite a prediction.

In 2001, Harbaugh, a backup quarterback in Carolina, told then-assistant offensive line coach Greg Roman that he would hire Roman on his staff when he became a head coach following his playing days.

A decade later, Roman, the 49ers offensive coordinator, laughed when recalling Harbaugh’s forecast.

At the time, Roman was an NFL assistant in his seventh year and Harbaugh was the subordinate player.

“I thought that was pretty audacious,” Roman said.

I spoke to Harbaugh last week for a feature story I’m writing on Roman and I asked him about his prediction – hey, Greg, I’m going to be your boss one day.

As it turns out, Harbaugh, who is nine years older than Roman, was right. In 2009, he hired Roman on his staff at Stanford. Still, Harbaugh, who also laughed at the memory, said he could have delivered his well-intended message differently.

“I remember just thinking he was very good at what he did and I wanted to let him know that I thought that,” Harbaugh said. “It was probably a silly way of saying I think you’re a really good coach. I can’t think of a better way to say this, Greg, but I think you’re a really good coach.”

• In what would appear to be a response to Harbaugh’s post-draft comments regarding unrestricted free agent quarterback Alex Smith, the NFL has sent the 49ers a memo asking them to not discuss their free agents during the lockout.

In a press conference after the draft, Harbaugh said, on a number of occasions, that he thought Smith would re-sign with the Niners. He also revealed that he’d given Smith a playbook.

“I think he’s going to come back to the team,” Harbaugh said on April 30. “He has not signed a contract.”

Team spokesman Bob Lange confirmed the NFL had reached out to the team after Harbaugh balked at the mention of Smith’s name during last week’s interview. I asked Harbaugh if he saw similarities between his career path and that of Smith’s – a topic I touched on in this blog.

“I’m not answering any questions about Alex Smith,” Harbaugh said. “The league has mandated we do not talk about him … The NFL has mandated that we don’t talk about players who are not under contract — who are free agents who haven’t signed. We’ve been sent a memo saying we can’t talk about it.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said he was not aware of the contact between the league and the 49ers.

• Niners linebacker Thaddeus Gibson was among those Ohio State players accused of selling or trading Buckeyes memorabilia in this Sports Illustrated article that appears to have led to Jim Tressel’s resignation at Ohio State.

According to a source in the SI story, Gibson was among those who either traded memorabilia in exchange for tattoos or cash at Fine Line Ink, a tattoo parlor in Columbus, Ohio. The source provided pictures of Gibson and teammates being tattooed or displaying their tattoos at Fine Line Ink. As SI’s online story notes, Gibson has tattoos down both arms.

In November, the 49ers claimed Gibson, a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft, after he was waived by the Steelers.

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