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49ers' Harbaugh: 'paws to the ground, going forward'

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS - San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has had time to reflect on the Super Bowl defeat. He called his victorious brother within a few days of the game Feb. 3, and everyone is moving beyond the past.

"A lot of people want you to look at it through a certain lens," he said. "The got-there-but-didn't-win lens. Many other lenses. ... The lens we choose to use is: Look at yourself. Where can you get better? It's a new day. Paws in the ground, going forward."

Harbaugh on Friday said he was eagerly digging into the Scouting Combine, where 333 prospects are measured athletically, intellectually and psychologically as part of the pre-draft process. Harbaugh said he bases the majority of every evaluation on game performance and studies film more than he trusts any particular workout result.

Interviews, not 40-yard dashes, are vital for Harbaugh and the 49ers. In that, Harbaugh said the team does a detailed evaluation of every player's history of relationships - with family, teachers, coaches - to measure their success and failure as people.

There is but one deal-breaker on Harbaugh's evaluation sheet: Dishonesty.

"I'm a big fan of the 'Judge Judy Show,'" said Harbaugh of the courtroom television show starring a stern female behind the gavel. "When you lie on the 'Judge Judy Show,' it's over. If somebody does lie to you, how do you ever trust that person again? So she taught me that."

Judith Sheindlin isn't the only celebrity figure the 49ers might cite. Harbaugh also uttered an applicable phrase from late president Ronald Reagan, "trust but we will verify."

The 49ers will need to come away with more information with a league-high 14 draft picks. It doesn't necessarily increase the team's chances to score another draft success story similar to Colin Kaepernick, a second-rounder in 2011. The 49ers could need a backup, but Harbaugh said it's very unlikely No. 2 quarterback Alex Smith will be released.

"It'll be a process, that's the reality of it," Harbaugh said. "That's the way it'll play out over the next so many weeks and months.

"Alex is an excellent football player. He was really playing the best football of his career the past two years. We think we've got the best QB situation in the league. We feel strongly about that. Alex fits continuing to be a 49er or a trade, those are the most likely possibilities."
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