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Jim Harbaugh beguiles reporters with Sharpie 'whistle'

NEW ORLEANS -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was in a frisky mood during Monday's media session, toying with a growing horde of Super Bowl reporters and tossing verbal punches around the room. When he wasn't turning the tables on writers, he was busy beguiling them with one-word answers and non sequiturs.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wears an unusual necklace during games.
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wears an unusual necklace during games. (Kevin Terrell/Associated Press)

Harbaugh excels on this front, exampled by one reporter's attempted probe into the so-called "Sharpie pen necklace" the coach religiously wears during games.

"I take great offense that you call it a necklace," Harbaugh said above the laughter. "It's a whistle. A coach's whistle. ... Hard to imagine going out to practice without a whistle.

"And then you put a pen onto the whistle string. It's not complicated. At all."

Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone later was asked by the same reporter if he's ever played for a coach who obsessively wears a permanent marker dangling from a string around his neck.

"No, never," Boone said, far from Harbaugh's ears. "I've always wondered the same thing, but I've never wanted to ask him. I know him too well to ask him. I mean, I don't want to piss him off. I'll just let you do that."

The debate furthered with media types suggesting the pen might even be a decoy of some sort.

"Oh man," Boone said. "You think it's a fake Sharpie? I've never seen him use it now that I think about it. You know what, I'm gonna ask him. I'll get the answer for you."

This one's far from over.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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