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Jim Harbaugh fires back at Kevin Gilbride's comments

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn't pass on a chance to fire up his troops before Sunday's game against the New York Giants.

Harbaugh apparently caught wind of Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's comments that 49ers defensive end Justin Smith "gets away with murder" when it comes to "grabbing a hold of offensive linemen and allowing those twists to take place."

So Harbaugh went to the unusual lengths of releasing a statement before his team's Friday practice.

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"Kevin Gilbride's outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith's play is, first, an absurd analogy," Harbaugh said. "Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league. It's obvious that the Giants coaching staff's sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating."

Awesome.

Gilbride actually was very complimentary about Smith overall, but Harbaugh saw an opening and ran with it. For a coach who doesn't love the media, Harbaugh sure gives out a lot of fantastic material.

UPDATE: For his part, Smith told reporters that Gilbride's comments don't bother him.

"I mean, I really don't know what he's talking about, to be honest with you," Smith said, via The Associated Press. "But if he's trying to talk himself, get some bulletin-board stuff, good for him. Whatever they need to do. It doesn't bother me. I'm going to have him look him up and see who it is."

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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