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Harbaugh couldn't figure out Payton's 'gentlemen's agreement'

  • By Dan Hanzus NFL.com
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Colin Kaepernick's first on-field NFL memory isn't a pleasant one. In his preseason debut, the 49ers' rookie quarterback was forced to deal with a Saints defense hell-bent on blitzing him back to Nevada.

Just how many times did New Orleans blitz that August night?

"One hundred and seven," 49ers receiver Kyle Williams said from a nearby locker, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Actually, I think it was 108," Kaepernick jokingly corrected his teammate.

Shortly after Kaepernick's harrowing debut, Saints radio play-by-play man Jim Henderson told a radio station in Houston that coach Sean Payton gave the green light to a blitz-heavy scheme for Gregg Williams' defense when he didn't receive an expected phone call from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. That courtesy phone call would have allowed the two coaches to draw up a "gentlemen's agreement" on how the game would be played.

When he didn't hear from Harbaugh, Payton told Williams to "let the dogs out," according to Henderson.

Naturally, this story made its way back to Harbaugh, who was left scratching his head over this so-called "gentlemen's agreement."

"I don't know anything about that," Harbaugh said Monday. "You hate to deal with hypotheticals on what somebody might have said and what somebody didn't say. It really becomes irrelevant. I'm certainly not aware of any gentlemen's agreement. I even asked my brother (Ravens coach John Harbaugh), 'Is there any sort of gentlemen's agreement that you call a coach before a preseason game?' Even he wasn't wasn't aware of it.

"And even if there was, we wouldn't do it anyway. We ask no quarter, we give no quarter, and that's how we approach things."

Nothing like a little philosophical discord to kick off the week leading up to Saturday's divisional playoff game between the two NFC powers.

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