Report: Harbaugh returned to practice Thursday after heart procedure

The SportsXchange

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was supposed to be absent from the team Thursday while he underwent a procedure on his heart, but he apparently couldn't stay away.

Harbaugh returned to the 49ers' Santa Clara headquarters from the hospital in time for the second half of Thursday's practice, ESPN reported Friday. The team had said Harbaugh wouldn't return until Friday.

Assistant head coach Brad Seeley was in charge of the team in Harbaugh's absence.

Harbaugh went to Stanford medical center Wednesday night because he wasn't feeling well. That's when the corrective procedure for an irregular heartbeat was suggested.

An irregular heartbeat can lead to fatigue, which none of the 49ers noticed with Harbaugh. Linebacker Patrick Willis said that Harbaugh wasn't showing any symptoms of illness.

"Coach Harbaugh, like he always tells us, he's tougher than a two-dollar steak," Willis said. "We know he's going to be all right."

On Thursday, special teams coach and assistant head coach Brad Seely took over and would presumably remain as coach if Harbaugh is away for a longer period of time.

Former Ravens coach Brian Billick said he underwent a procedure for heart arrhythmia twice while he was coaching and that it entailed a shocking of the chest wall to get the heart back on its regular beat. Billick, talking to radio station KNBR, said the shocks immediately made him feel better.

"After that, you are good to go," he said.

Arrhythmia can be brought on by stress, and Harbaugh has plenty of that. He also is the picture of intensity on the sidelines with his frequent clashes with referees.When the 49ers announced that coach Jim Harbaugh was having a procedure Thursday to correct an irregular heartbeat, they said that they expected him to be back at work on Friday.

The 49ers played the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
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