San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York said Monday that the Cleveland Browns did inquire about the prospect of trading for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, putting a new twist on things after initially saying the story wasn't true.
York told the Sacramento Bee that the Browns called the 49ers in January with the intent of speaking with 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula about the Browns coaching vacancy.
During that conversation, the Browns asked about Harbaugh's availability via trade.
That line of questioning went “not far at all,” York told the Bee. “We had no interest in entering those discussions.”
He added that: “We want Jim to be our head coach, and we've said that very clearly.”
Harbaugh just completed the third year of the five-year, $25 million contract he signed with the 49ers in 2011. Both sides are interested in hammering out a new contract this offseason.
York said that process likely will resume after the NFL draft takes place in early May, though he is interested in doing so whenever Harbaugh is ready.
York first called the ProFootballTalk.com story that first reported the Browns pursuit of Harbaugh “not true.” He stands by that comment now, though he shed more light on how things unfolded.
He said he waited so long to address theProFootballTalk.com story because of the 49ers policy of not talking publicly about trades.
“We keep calls to ourselves,” York told the Bee. “I see no reason talking about another team — that's how we do business.”
The Browns ultimated hired Mike Pettine to be their head coach. On Sunday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam cranked up the heat on York and the 49ers by saying an “opportunity” to trade for Harbaugh just “didn't materialize.”