When San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh denied courting Peyton Manning this offseason, we didn't buy a word of it. Harbaugh took offense to the notion his team was "flirting" with the quarterback for his services, calling that a "phony" accusation.
In Harbaugh's world, there was no Manning chase. It didn't exist (and still doesn't), but pursuing Manning is exactly what the 49ers were doing, even if Harbaugh continues to battle that perception.
"I felt a desire to set the record straight," Harbaugh told Mike Sando of ESPN.com this week. "Now, the interesting thing is that you could speak the truth as you know it to be and believe it to be, and then somebody could call you a liar.
"That you can concisely, exactly say it how you see it and believe it, and then somebody can call you a liar, that would make me wonder about the shadiness of that person. You know, the seediness, the diabolical world that somebody would live in that would think that another man would come right to his face and lie to him."
Hold the phone, friends. We are being taken deep inside the mind of Jim Harbaugh. The coach continues to pound away at a Manning narrative that is altogether different from what we saw.
In reality, this was the portrait of a playoff team pursuing a final piece in the puzzle, fully aware of Manning's price tag and prepared to strike. Despite the steady work of Alex Smith last offseason, Harbaugh pumped up the team's receiving corps in recent months and we believe the coach was deadly serious about making Manning a 49er.
Harbaugh continues to deny that, saying he's been unfairly attacked by analysts.
"You don't really understand another man until you've walked in their shoes, but I don't understand that world," Harbaugh said. "I don't understand the world where somebody would lie themselves or be lied to, to that extent, where they could commit character assassination on somebody else that is telling the truth."
Harbaugh, an otherwise talented coach, only sinks deeper into mystery with these comments. We continue to watch, fascinated.