49ers coach Jim Harbaugh knows his Shakespeare

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Jim Harbaugh just might be the NFL's foremost authority on Shakespeare. (USATSI)
Jim Harbaugh just might be the NFL's foremost authority on Shakespeare. (USATSI)

If you had to vote for the NFL coach most likely to quote Shakespeare during a training camp press conference, you'd probably vote for Bill Belichick because he's a genius and he reads a lot and he probably has the entire works of Shakespeare memorized.

But maybe you should switch your vote to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh though, because he apparently unloaded some serious Shakespeare on the media during his post-practice press conference on Friday -- marking at least the second time he's quoted Shakespeare in 2013.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Harbaugh was asked after practice about the hardest hit he ever took as a player. At first, Harbaugh said he didn't remember, but then he decided to answer the question.

I got some scars. Sometime I'll have you over for a barbecue and I'll strip my sleeves and show my scars. I usually do it about once a year for my neighbors. Feast my neighbors and talk about days gone by. But today's not the day. You will be included for the yearly barbecue.

The Chronicle called it a bizarre tangent, but was it a bizarre tangent? Or -- as a Chronicle commenter pointed out -- was it merely a brilliant modern-day interpretation of the Saint Crispin's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V.

Here's the passage from Henry V:

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian." Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say "These wounds I had on Crispian's day." Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day.

Now wait, before you head to Amazon.com to buy 19 copies of Henry V for Harbaugh to autograph, there's more: Harbaugh also quoted some Henry V just before the Super Bowl.

Next time you watch a Harbaugh press conference on television, make sure you have a copy of Henry V handy or you might not understand what he's saying. And if your English teacher or history of literature professor is wearing a 49ers jersey this fall, now you know why.


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