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49ers' Harbaugh courting advice from all corners

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has a long history of seeking advice from people he deems great. If Harbaugh thinks he can become a better coach - or person - from a conversation, he has it.

After accepting the head coaching job at Stanford in 2007, Harbaugh made a point to have frequent chats with the late Bill Walsh. As Harbaugh tells it, he would make his way over to Walsh's office on the Stanford campus and pick his brain. Football, leadership, family. There were no limits.

Over the course of this season, Harbaugh has sought and received advice from several more accomplished members of the sporting world.

On Friday, he took the lead of his brother and called into a radio show.

On the other end? Hall-of-Fame coach John Madden.

"Some of the advice he gave. Thought it was really good insight," Harbaugh said. "Some that I have never heard before. And shared it with the team just a few minutes ago."

Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl title in 1977, told Harbaugh the importance of having no complaints as the team prepares to play Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII next week in New Orleans.

"I did like that," Harbaugh said. "Yeah, some people could say what's there to complain about, you're in the Super Bowl, right? Well, I know where he's coming from."

When San Francisco stayed in Youngstown, Ohio, as a pit stop between Minnesota and New York early in the season, the 49ers welcomed Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown to a practice.

"It was an honor. It was enlightening. Thought I learned some good things talking to Mr. Brown," Harbaugh said. "My family, especially my dad, has always been a big fan of Jim Brown. They've met on several occasions, and (that) was the first opportunity that I met Jim Brown. And I really enjoyed our visit."

The dignified guests didn't stop there. A few weeks later, Hall of Fame baseball player Willie Mays showed up at a practice at the team's facility in Santa Clara, where he chatted, signed autographs and generally amazed staff and team.

"It was awesome. It was awesome. The great Willie Mays was here," Harbaugh said. "And he signed an autographed baseball for everybody that wanted one, which was everybody. And had a great time talking to him. Talked a lot of baseball. Talked a lot of the 1954 catch in the Polo Grounds."

Surround yourself with good people? Harbaugh has certainly done that.

One of his most frequent sources of wisdom comes from soon-to-be Hall of Fame baseball skipper Tony La Russa. Harbaugh said the two speak almost weekly and he leans on La Russa for all sorts of advice. Advice that he keeps to himself.

"Tony doesn't quite like that when I (share)," Harbaugh said. "So, he has a great amount of humility. But, he's been a very valuable resource and asset to me. I really appreciate it."

Above all, Harbaugh's greatest influence is without question, his father, Jack. Considering the unique circumstances Harbaugh finds himself at the moment, Jack's off limits. It just wouldn't make sense for Harbaugh to seek advice from the father of the opposing coach.

NOTEBOOK

-- LB Tavares Gooden spent 2008-2010 with the Baltimore Ravens before being cut after training camp concluded in 2011. He signed with the 49ers the next day and is the only player to have played for both Jim and John Harbaugh.

-- No charges will be filed against WR Michael Crabtree after an investigation for an alleged sexual assault, the San Francisco Police Department announced Friday.

-- According to a report from CBSSports.com, San Francisco is among the teams interested in trading for New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

-- C Jonathan Goodwin is the only 49ers player to have played in - and won - a Super Bowl. He was a part of the New Orleans Saints' 2009 championship team.

-- RG Alex Boone has been a significant upgrade over Adam Snyder and Chilo Rachal from a year ago and a key against Baltimore. A year ago, the Ravens sacked QB Alex Smith nine times, largely due to the inefficiencies at the position.

INJURY REPORT

-- TE Garrett Celek (foot) did not practice Friday and is questionable for the Super Bowl.

-- LB Navorro Bowman (shoulder) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) was limited in practice Friday, but is probable for the Super Bowl.

-- CB Tarell Brown (shoulder) was limited in practice Friday, but is probable for the Super Bowl.

-- RB Frank Gore (ankle, shoulder) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- LB Clark Haggans (shoulder) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- G Mike Iupati (shoulder) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- RB LaMichael James (back) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- RB Bruce Miller (shoulder) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- LB Aldon Smith (shoulder) was limited in practice Friday, but is probable for the Super Bowl.

-- DT Justin Smith (elbow, triceps) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

-- LB Patrick Willis (shoulder) was a full participant in practice Friday and probable for the Super Bowl.

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