INDIANAPOLIS -- A coaching bombshell landed Friday when Pro Football Talk reported that the 49ers were close to trading their head coach, Jim Harbaugh, to the Browns in exchange for draft picks before Harbaugh reportedly told his current employer that he wasn't interested.
The Browns issued a statement in which they didn't deny much of anything, but 49ers CEO Jed York did (in a most epic way). Then, Harbaugh told CSN Bay Area,“For the record, I echo Jed York's comment…'isn't true.' I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us involving me.”
Either way, the man who has to live with it the most is Browns coach Mike Pettine. And when he heard Friday, Pettine was not pleased.
"I got a phone call that the report was about to come out, and I shot the messenger a little bit," Pettine said Saturday. "My first question was, 'How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?' I either used the world 'flying' followed by something or I referenced a part of a rat's body.
"I think that's noise. It has no bearing on my job moving forward. That's a critical thing. A big part of beinh an NFL head coach involves dealing with noise and distractions. Add that to the list."
In fact, Pettine doesn't see the Browns' reported attempt to procure Harbaugh as a negative. He sees it as a good thing.
"When you look at it, the organization is committed to getting it turned around, that they would explore that option," Pettine said. "I see that as a positive."
What wasn't a positive -- at least, not when the news broke -- was owner Jimmy Haslam's decision to fire CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi after just 16 games into their tenures. But Pettine also can see the positive in that move.
"It was a surprise; it was a little bittersweet," Pettine said. "I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for Mike and Joe. The reaction from me was that it was also a clear message from Jimmy that he recognized there were some issues and some obstacles to being successful. He wanted to clear things up."