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Trent Baalke: Jim Harbaugh rift rumors 'off base'

Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke aren't best friends. Luckily for the San Francisco 49ers, they don't need to be.

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Early in the offseason, reports surfaced about tension between the coach and general manager. When the Cleveland Browns reached out to the Niners to inquire about Harbaugh's availability, a soap opera was born.

Greg Bedard of spent time behind the scenes with the Niners this week, tasked with getting a handle on the internal workings of football's most-scrutinized working relationship.

"I've seen so much written that it doesn't make sense to me," Baalke said. "They don't know us. And to put words into our mouths is unfair. To read into it is unfair. This is a competitive business, and the only way to survive is to be highly competitive. And everyone in this organization is highly competitive, just like any other.

"It's a highly competitive environment. We like that. That's what we thrive on. So to say that the relationship is strained or it's a relationship that can't coexist is totally off base. Totally off base."

Harbaugh was similarly dismissive of any theories of discord.

"It's been very healthy," the coach said. "We each can express our view and opinion and then when we're finished, that's the decision and then we're in lockstep as an organization for how we pursue our goals and our next thing that we have to resolve, or the next thing we have to anticipate. But it's been successful in that regard."

The Niners have a good thing going, and it appears they understand that. A new contract for Harbaugh looms, but for now it's about the Super Bowl. There appears to be less distraction toward that goal than we've been led to believe.

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