San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh returned to the practice field this Friday to oversee the team in morning walk-through drills and afternoon full contact practice. Harbaugh had been away from the team on Thursday after being hospitalized at Stanford Hospital with an irregular heartbeat. Team sources have indicated that Harbaugh underwent a minor heart procedure after he started experiencing chest pain on Wednesday. It has not yet been determined if he will indeed be on the sidelines with the team this coming Monday when the 49ers face off against the Chicago Bears.
Harbaugh, the reigning Coach of the Year, and one of the more animated coaches in the league, turns 49 on December 23. While he is not yet cleared to be on the sidelines Monday, there is little doubt that he will miss such an important game. Harbaugh, a former NFL player, is as fiery as they come as a coach. His fierce determination and competitive spirit is on display during every game. And his never quit attitude will most likely have him manning the Chicago game, whether it’s against doctors orders or not.
When interviewed, 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis breathed a little humor in to the very serious situation, implying that Harbaugh would not be hindered by a mere medical condition.
"It’s one of those things that, like coach Harbaugh always tells us, he’s tougher than a two dollar steak"
Very kind words in relation to his coach’s durability. And they will most certainly need Harbaugh on the sidelines this week for the Bears game. The Bears have a terrific team this year and are one of the bigger roadblocks to the 49ers making it to the playoffs. Not to mention, the health of quarterback Alex Smith is still a question mark at this point. If Smith does not play, the guidance of Harbaugh for rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick becomes even more invaluable.
It’s a strong probability that coach Harbaugh will not fully relinquish the nature of his procedure and his feeling of well being. Tough guy players turned coaches are like that; they tend to keep that information to themselves. Regardless, we at 49ers101.com wish coach Harbaugh and his family the best, and hope for a complete recovery.
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