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Jim Harbaugh defends 49ers draft pick A.J. Jenkins

Unless your name is Randy Moss, you know what it's like to have growing pains as an NFL rookie.

Moss' teammate, A.J. Jenkins, can attest. The wide receiver has had some well-documented struggles since the San Francisco 49ers made him their first-round draft pick (No. 30 overall) in April, but head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn't want to hear any of your doomsday proclamations.

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In a classic Harbaughian maneuver, the coach made an unscheduled visit to the podium Sunday to address Jenkins' progress.

"I just want to update you on the status of A.J. Jenkins, that topic," Harbaugh said. "A.J. Jenkins was an outstanding football player when he got here. His progress has been very, very good and exceeded expectations. For those scribes, pundits, so-called experts, who have gone as far to say that he is going to be a bust, should just stop.

"I recommend that because they are making themselves look more clueless than they've already did. To go on record, A.J.'s going to be an outstanding football player. So far in camp, what he's done in the offseason has led us to believe nothing but that he will be an outstanding football player in the National Football League."

(You know a head coach is serious when he drops the NFL acronym and just goes with the whole enchilada.)

Harbaugh was later asked why he felt the need to come to Jenkins' defense in such an impromptu manner.

"I'm just stating the facts as I see them and believe them to be."

Jenkins was criticized for conditioning issues, something the receiver says is behind him. He even spoke of climbing "the hill" with 49ers Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Harbaugh's right about one thing: It's pointless to speculate about Jenkins' demise before his first training camp begins.

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