As John Harbaugh's contract-extension negotiations dragged on during the past month, speculation surfaced that one possible holdup was a looming power struggle or personality conflict between Harbaugh and new general manager Eric DeCosta.
Harbaugh, who signed a new four-year deal Jan. 24, shot down one aspect of that
when he said
his new contract did not include any more control of the roster-building process, nor was he looking for that.
And at his introductory news conference Jan. 30, DeCosta took offense to any notion that there was a personality problem between him and his coach, saying such talk "did upset me a little bit."
"I would read it, and all I would think to myself is, 'We have enemies out there who are trying to create divisions and cracks and fissures and things like that," DeCosta said.
"It was personal, and it was simply not true," he added.
DeCosta has been with the organization since its infancy, and Harbaugh has been the team's head coach since 2008, so they have already worked together for 11 years. It seems improbable that owner Steve Bisciotti would commit to both for the long term if there were significant and fundamental problems.
DeCosta acknowledged that team officials -- front office executives, scouts, coaches -- don't always agree on the assessment of a player or organizational philosophy, but open dialogue is part of the process.
"[Harbaugh] and I don't always see players the same way," DeCosta said. "But what I think I've learned over the years … is it's healthy to have disagreements or to see things differently. You have to make the best decision for the organization, and you do that by talking about things, not running from them, not closing the door."
"You confront the issue," he added. "You confront the evaluation or the player or the decision, and you come to an agreement that's the best decision for the organization."
DeCosta said of Harbaugh, "John is the only coach I want to work with."
Asked later to elaborate, DeCosta noted Harbaugh's "determination, his drive, his love of his players, the respect he commands in the locker room, his passion. I think he's a man of integrity, honesty, great character. I admire a lot of things about him."
Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox