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.
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.