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San Francisco 49ers, Peyton Manning Were Not Flirting, Says Jim Harbaugh

The San Francisco 49ers were considered to be one of the primary contenders to land super quarterback Peyton Manning this offseason. The 49ers had one significant weakness last year, as their passing game was just not up to par in the NFC Championship Game. Manning eventually made his decision to join up with the Denver Broncos, and the 49ers decided to stick with Alex Smith.

Now head coach Jim Harbaugh seems to be going out of his way to spin that the 49ers weren't actively considering Manning. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area has this report.

"There's a perception out there, and it's an erroneous perception, that we were flirting with Peyton Manning. I keep hearing that over and over and over again. It's silly. And it's untrue. It's phony.

"Even the perception we were pursuing him. We were evaluating him. I said it all along that Alex Smith is our quarterback. There's no scenario other than Alex choosing to sign with another team that we would've considered him not as our quarterback.

"Don't like to compare or talk about somebody else who's on another team, but in this case, wanted to set the record straight. Alex Smith is our quarterback, was our quarterback and had every intention of always bringing him back. There'd be no circumstance where we would've let Alex Smith go.

"Now, were we out there seeing, evaluating if we could have them both? Heck, yeah. You evaluate that. You eliminate the possibility. Further evidence, we would not have given any player that was out there in free agency (one-sixth) of our salary cap and let six or seven of our own guys go. So hopefully that sets the record straight and you don't have to keep reporting the silliness and the phoniness."

Makes sense that Harbaugh would argue semantics--he's just trying to protect his quarterback. Still, it'd be real hard to believe the 49ers weren't actively considering Manning. Evaluating him? Like they don't have tape on him?

Alex Smith had this to say about his coach's comments

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