Fortunately for Tolzien, the decision encompassed more than just the preseason finale and included his time serving as the team's No. 3 quarterback last season.
After spending much of Friday morning doing laundry and catching up with friends and family, Tolzien finally got a call from his agent, Joe Panos, who informed him the team was bringing him back for a second season.
"It was awesome news and I'm pumped to be here," Tolzien said. "The work was put in at that point and there was nothing you can do, but just wait."
"I wish Josh the best. He's a good quarterback," Tolzien said. "That was so evident Thursday night during the game. Josh has got some good years ahead of him and that's not me trying to sugar-coat anything. I really think a lot of him as a quarterback and as a person. Hopefully he gets a great opportunity and I feel confident he'll make the most of it."
Harbaugh said little about what went into his decision to keep Tolzien.
"I can't tell you how close it was," Harbaugh said. "It was a dead heat, both those players made a great argument for both of them to help our team win on any given Sunday. It was close in the beginning, it remained close all the way through and it was a tough decision."
In Tolzien, the 49ers have a player that fits the traditional mold for a quarterback. He's at his best when working in the pocket and, for the most part, delivered accurate passes throughout training camp.
Johnson would have provided a completely different element.
While he possesses a strong arm, the Oakland native's strength is his athleticism and the ability to create plays on the run. With backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick already on the roster, the added dimension Johnson's speed would have added wasn't as much of a need.
Tolzien signed with the 49ers on Sept. 4 last season after the Chargers waived him following the preseason and was inactive for every game. Up to this point, he had been known best for playing the part of Drew Brees in practice before San Francisco beat the New Orleans Saints 36-32 in an NFC division round playoff game last season.
He started 26 games at Wisconsin, where he set the school record for completion rate (68.1) and QB rating (153.2) and was the recipient of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
"They have a two-year term," Harbaugh joked. "Next year they would have to be - it's like the President of the United States - they'd have to be re-elected."
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