Harbaugh says he “believes” Patrick Willis will start Week 1 against the Packers

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the 49ers.


Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was telling me that you guys decided on S Eric Reid as the starting safety. What has he shown you to earn that role heading into the regular season?

“Just everything we talked about, he’s been good. He’s shown that he’s picked up the system fast and played well in games. It’s been a nice progression, nice process for him.”


How quickly did the LB Parys Haralson trade come about? Was it a couple days or did it happen real fast?

“Over a few days.”


Did he request to be traded or was there any conversation that way with him?

“You can talk to Parys about those details if you’d like. I mean, I’m not going to get into people’s personal business.”


Did he want to be a starter? I thought that would be a reasonable thing for him to want.

“Again, I’m not going to speak for somebody else. But, he’s a great guy, one of a kind guy. I love Parys, all his service that he gave to the San Francisco 49ers. I think that you can surmise by it that it’s a win-win. That’s how we look at it. That’s how Parys is looking at it. Positive thing for both Parys and our team.”


Did the play and performance of LB Corey Lemonier during the preseason camp kind of, I guess, make that trade possible? What I’m getting at is, he seems to be like, he could be a pretty good football player. Did it make it easier to part with Parys Haralson because of the way Corey’s played?

“Independent of anything, Corey Lemonier has been a ascending, improving player. I’ve been very pleased with the way he’s performed in ballgames and in practice and he’s doing a fine job.”


How much does money have a factor into any of these decisions?

“Were you and Cam kind of writing each other notes there and figuring out the question to ask?”


It’s very hard to control me Jim, I kind of ask my own questions.

“You looked like you were kind of conferring. Again, blanket-statement, we don’t talk about the contracts publicly.”


I’m saying generally. I’m saying does money factor into your roster decisions? How much of a factor is it?

“A percentage. I’m sure that somewhere it factors in, Tim, to decisions, yes.”


How do you assess the long snapper competition?

“Very even. Both are NFL snappers. Feel very good about both those men. It’ll come right down to the wire.”


With QB Colin Kaepernick going into his third season, how is it different for you in terms of how much you have to help him study up on the league and on your offense and on defenses? Do you not have to tutor him as much as you did during the last two years?

“He’s a contributor. He is a person that studies the game. Very impressed with how he goes about his job and he takes on a great responsibility there as the quarterback to study the opponent, to study their personnel, to study the ready list, to study the game plan, contribute to the game plan, make suggestions. He’s a very inquisitive guy that wants to know all the details. So, I think what your question is, do you have to coach him more or coach him less? He demands being coached more. That’s the kind of person-player that he is.”


What did you say, there’s a ‘ready list,’ is that what you said?

“Yeah a game plan, a ready list.”


Is DL Lawrence Okoye’s injury, is that a season-ending type of thing or would you like to get him back to the practice squad at some point?

“Don’t believe that it’ll be a season-ending injury. I don’t think he’s going to be injured the entire season, but at this point when you get injured at this point, for all intents and purposes it is for the season.”


Is he somebody, when he gets healthy, that you’d consider bringing him to the practice squad or do you think he’ll –?

“Yeah, yeah. You’re getting into the kind of the rules of the situation. At some point he’ll be waived/injured, but we will have his rights when he’s healthy and we can sign him back.”


That would be for next season?

“We’ll have his rights this season.”


So he can go on IR or PUP?

“Yeah, he wouldn’t go on either of those right now. There’ll be a release. You’ll get a statement. You’ll get a release, exactly what his status is at the appropriate time.”


But you’ve seen enough from May to now to be assured that he’s on a good trajectory for learning the game? You’ve been encouraged with what you’ve seen from him?

“Yes, definitely. Definitely encouraged. And feels fortunate it wasn’t an ACL. He’s got an injury and we’ll have a statement that will be exact and that the doctors can comment on. And we’ll have that for you.”


You got doctor quotes?

“No, not Dr. Harbaugh.”


But another doctor will provide quotes on the details of –?

“Yes, a board certified, expert, medical doctor. Learned doctor.”


About his right knee?



This team’s made some moves to extend players long-term, to keep them over the long haul. Have there been any talks with you, to extend you out beyond your contract?

“Again, put me in the category of, we don’t discuss the contracts.”



“Yeah, put me in the same category as the players. This is a policy of –. It doesn’t seem to ever do any good to talk about contracts publicly.”


Do you want to be here?

“Again, my experience has shown me, that it’s never good to talk about contracts publically. Doesn’t serve any positive purpose.”


Do you want to be with the 49ers longer than five years?

“Again, there is no positive result that comes out of talking about contracts.”


The wide receiver situation, on Thursday, will you play maybe WR Austin Collie –?

“If you think you got a story there feel free to run with it, Tim.”


I asked you when you were at Stanford the same stuff?

“Yeah, yeah.”


This wide receiver situation on Thursday, do you kind of split the reps up differently? Do you have a plan on how you’d like to see which players? Will we see more Austin Collie or more WR Lavelle Hawkins earlier, or do you think you can share?

“Yeah, we’ll make those decisions before the game. I don’t want to go through today, tomorrow, who’s playing, how much they’re playing, when they’re playing, how many guys are playing at each position. We’ll trot out there and play Thursday night against the Chargers.”


Will LB Patrick Willis start week one?

“I believe he will.”


The Vikings are still going after G Joe Looney’s hit on DT Kevin Williams and saying they thought that was a dirty play. And I just wanted to see your reaction? They said more about it today in Minnesota.

“Yeah, I’m not aware of any comments that were made.”


I can read it to you if you want, or do you want to talk about that play?



Was it a clean play? Could I just hear that from you?

“It was an unfortunate play. I don’t think it was a dirty play. Don’t think it was intentional. Don’t think there is any malice in the heart of Joe Looney.”

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