49ers proceed into bye week with emotional coach

By Janie Mccauley

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Oct. 17 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

"We had a slightly less physical handshake," Smith joked. "This team loves and appreciates the fact that our coach is fiery and a competitor. We like that. I don't think any of us hold that against him for what happened."

Schwartz on Monday said he regretted the incident, in which he chased down Harbaugh after the infamous postgame semi-greeting but was held back by players and team personnel.

Harbaugh had at least one supporter outside Santa Clara team headquarters, 3,000 miles away at that: big brother and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

"I can tell you this, whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I'm on. The same side I've always taken," John Harbaugh said Monday. "You know what? Everybody's got a lot to learn. I guess right now he's 5-1. If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands postgame after a victory, he's doing OK."

Some protocols of etiquette aren't clearly defined.

Titans coach Mike Munchak, who only saw a replay of the Harbaugh-Schwartz exchange, acknowledged that when people are passionate things like this can happen.

"I don't even know what the rules are and all that," Munchak said. "When I became a head coach, there were things I didn't know. I didn't even know if before the game you were supposed to go and shake. I was a line coach and I never went out to shake anyone's hand, or when I was a player, I never went out to shake anyone's hand. I very rarely like to do it after the game.

"It's good sportsmanship obviously, but I think everyone realizes how competitive we are, how hard you work. It's hard after a game to work that hard, 100 hours a week or something, especially some of the coaches and not play well or play poorly. But obviously, you could suck it up and go over and shake a guy's hand for 5 seconds or 10 seconds."

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis remembers Baltimore's lunchtime basketball games in 1998 with Jim Harbaugh and then-defensive coach Schwartz during Harbaugh's playing days for the Ravens.

"I think Jimmy and Jim both, I'm sure, wish things would have been different and it doesn't have to become such a big thing. But really, (there's) not much to it," Lewis said. "Schwartzy and I would be playing against Harbaugh all the time and we'd play lunchtime basketball and Jimmy was playing for us. Two competitive guys."

San Francisco's players talked about the run-in on the flight home from the Motor City, even with Harbaugh sitting among them in coach class and not in his first-class seat.

"It's almost like he's still playing football. He's with us," defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said. "Just to see a coach fired up, to see him jumping with you, slapping five, patting you on the back, telling you good job and stuff and he's into the game, that's our energy right there. We thrive off of him. It seems like he's still playing football but he's just doing it from the coach's position."


AP Sports Writers Tim Booth in Seattle, David Ginsburg in Baltimore, Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville contributed to this story.

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