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Jim Harbaugh: Ex-49er A.J. Jenkins bullied by media

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh memorably came to the defense of his wide receiver, A.J. Jenkins, before last season.

"For those -- the scribes, pundits, so-called experts -- who have gone so far as to say that he's going to be a bust, should just stop," Harbaugh said last July. "I recommend that because they're making themselves look more clueless than they already did."

A little more than one year later, Jenkins is an ex-49er. And Harbaugh still is not happy with how the media treated Jenkins.

"I know a lot of people made sport of A.J. and Jonathan (Baldwin) and my comments and that type of thing," Harbaugh said Wednesday, via CSN Bay Area. "And I really feel the same as I did a year ago when I made those comments. I don't think it's fair to bully or label a young player.

"I fully understand people are entitled to their opinion and their perspective, however, I prefer the criticism -- or appreciate -- if the criticism is directed toward me. I'm responsible and I certainly accept it. ... Of I'm going to defend a young player when I believe he's being bullied or labeled, before even his first practice."

Harbaugh was asked exactly what he is responsible for.

"I'm responsible. I'm responsible for helping pick the draft picks and fully responsible for coaching the players up. So I willingly accept those responsibilities," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh is always on edge with the media, but his strong backing of his players is a part of his success. But he balances his public "us against them" devotion with necessary cold-blooded business decisions, like trading Jenkins or benching Alex Smith.

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