SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — John Harbaugh is downplaying it with all his might, that there’s no extra fuel when facing the team that ousted his little brother nearly 10 months ago, yet everybody knows it certainly would be sweet for the Baltimore Ravens to get their season back on track against San Francisco.
They have no choice — regardless of the connections and the Super Bowl rematch nearly three years later.
“In the grand scheme of things, would he like to stick one on them? Yeah, but at the end of the day you just take a win any way you can get it right now,” said former NFL MVP and current CBS analyst Rich Gannon, who will work Sunday’s game at Levi’s Stadium. “They have their own issues. … To me it’s amazing how quickly things can change in this business. Sustainability, when you don’t have consistency and production within your building, is hard.”
The Ravens (1-4) are off to the worst start in franchise history, while the 49ers (1-4) are on a four-game losing streak and haven’t had this many problems since before Jim Harbaugh arrived in January 2011 to replace Mike Singletary and led the franchise to three straight NFC championship games and that 34-31 Super Bowl loss to his brother and the Ravens after the 2012 season.
Jim Harbaugh departed at the end of last season with a year remaining on his contract, though the team called it a mutual parting.
“There might be (some added fuel), that’s his brother,” 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said of John Harbaugh. “Family is going to stick together no matter what.”
The Super Bowl loss still stings for 49ers left tackle Joe Staley.
“I’ll always have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder from that game,” he said. “I probably will never get over it. We had first-and-goal from the (5), we were all in the huddle, we were saying, `We’re about to have a parade, we’re about to be Super Bowl champions,’ and then we lost. I never cried in a sporting event ever in my life besides that moment.”
This week, John Harbaugh referenced his brother’s new job at Michigan and the family’s long connection to the school when asked about former Ohio State star Carlos Hyde of the 49ers.
“I love their running back Carlos, he’s just doing a great job, even if he is a Buckeye. We can live with that,” Harbaugh said. “You guys know the story, I’ve kind of been a Michigan guy, we kind of both grew up that way.”
Hyde is dealing with a foot issue but was practicing during individual drills Friday, when he also was fined $23,152 by the NFL for using the crown of his helmet to make contact with Giants linebacker Jon Beason, who sustained a concussion on the play last Sunday night.
Beason on Friday accused 49ers left guard Alex Boone of grabbing him from behind and deliberately pushing him in the back, which Boone vehemently denied Friday.
“It’s kind of sad this gets brought up on a Friday before another game, but it is what it is and life goes on,” he said. “I feel bad that Carlos got fined that much money. That’s a shame. … I’ve never intentionally ever tried to go out and hurt anybody. I respect this game more than anybody in this league. I respect everybody in it.”
Notes: Frank Sinatra Christmas music played in the locker room Friday. … It’s unclear how much LB Ahmad Brooks will play Sunday after he returned to practice Thursday following a week away because of the death of his sister. “Really good to have him back in the building,” Tomsula said. … WR Jerome Simpson will serve the final game of his six-game suspension Sunday and be eligible to return next week. In addition, C Daniel Kilgore, who had a second procedure on his broken lower left leg from an injury last October, doesn’t expect to return to practice next week when eligible given it is a short week with the Seahawks coming to town Thursday night.
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)