Harbaugh ‘absolutely’ wants to stick with 49ers NFL NOTEBOOK:

McClatchy News ServicesDecember 20, 2013 

Jim Harbaugh insisted Thursday that all is well with the San Francisco 49ers, and he remains committed to the team.

The 49ers coach said he’s “absolutely” planning to stay with the team long term.

Reports surfaced this week that Harbaugh might be a candidate for the Texas job that opened when Mack Brown announced he will step down after the Alamo Bowl later this month. Harbaugh denied any interest in the Longhorns.

“As I’ve stated many times … ,” Harbaugh said.

Asked about the rumors linking him to Texas, Harbaugh said, “Rumors? Give me evidence. What are we talking, hearsay here? Well, in Judge Judy’s court, hearsay is not admissible evidence. I think we can all agree that an unnamed source is hearsay. Would we not?”

There also were rumblings of tension between Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke. 49ers owner Jed York described it as creative tension. Harbaugh downplayed any rift, saying his relationship with Baalke was “good.”

“It’s the 49er way,” Harbaugh said. “It’s the team, the team, the team. Everybody does a little, and it adds up to be a lot. Nobody above the team. Nobody more important. Nobody less important.

“Hundreds of people in this organization, and we all have a role and we all contribute to the best of our ability. And that’s the team, the team, the team. We win as a team. That’s how we do it.”

Harbaugh, who has a 34-11-1 record with the 49ers, is in the third year of a five-year contract worth $25 million. York has said he wants to extend Harbaugh’s deal after the season.

The 49ers (10-4) play the Atlanta Falcons (4-10) in Candlestick Park on Monday night. San Francisco trails the Seattle Seahawks (12-2) by two games in the NFC West.

TEXANS INTERVIEW SMITH

Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith was the first candidate to be interviewed to replace Gary Kubiak as the Texans’ coach, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

Smith interviewed earlier this week, the report said.

Smith, 55, was fired after the Bears finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs in 2012. During his nine years with the Bears, Smith’s teams won three NFC North titles and lost Super Bowl XLI to Indianapolis.

Texans owner Bob McNair said immediately after firing Kubiak on Dec. 6 that Smith would be a candidate.

RODGERS TO PLAY?

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked fine on the practice field Thursday. It doesn’t mean he is going to play.

There was no definitive word on whether Rodgers will be medically cleared to return from his left collarbone injury in time for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy indicated he would name his starter Friday.

Rodgers made several references to his status being an “organizational decision.”

“Just a Thursday practice, didn’t take a lot of reps with the teams but felt pretty good out there, was feeling good,” said Rodgers.

Flynn took the majority of the reps Thursday, McCarthy said.

EXTRA POINTS

Larry Fitzgerald said he practiced fully Thursday but has one more concussion test to pass before he is cleared to play Sunday at Seattle. But, the Arizona star wide receiver said he expects to play as did quarterback Carson Palmer, who is dealing with a high-ankle sprain. … New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his left knee. He was injured in the third quarter of the Giants 23-0 loss to the Seahawks when he jumped to catch a pass and landed hard on his head. …

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed will miss the rest of the 2013 season due to lingering concussion symptoms, and was placed on the injured reserve. … Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker will miss a second consecutive game while he recovers from a concussion, Fox Sports reported. …

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson remains on track to return this weekend despite being held out of practice for further treatment on his sprained right foot. … The Buffalo Bills game will not be televised in their area Sunday when they take on the Miami Dolphins after failing to reach a sellout.

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