Jim Harbaugh says the 49ers all but pushed him out the door after last season, but guard Alex Boone paints a different picture of the controversial divorce.
In an interview with HBO's “Real Sports” that will air Tuesday, Boone said Harbaugh “wore out his welcome” because of his demanding style with the players. He was a starter for four seasons with Harbaugh as coach.
While Boone gave Harbaugh high marks as a motivator, the veteran admitted that his unbending ways grew tiresome over the years. In recent years, Harbaugh conceded his style could rub some people the wrong way and lead to a parting of ways eventually.
“He does a great job of giving you that spark, that initial boom,” Bone told Andrea Kremer. “But after a while, you just want to kick his ass. … He just keeps pushing you, and you're like, 'Dude, we got over the mountain. Stop. Let go.' He kind of wore out his welcome.”
At that point, Kremer asked, “What does that mean?”
“I think he just pushed guys too far,” Boone responded. “He wanted too much, demanded too much, expected too much. You know, 'We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this. We gotta go out and do this.' And you'd be like, 'This guy might be clinically insane. He's crazy.' … I think that, if you're stuck in your ways enough, eventually people are just going to say, 'Listen, we just can't work with this.'”
The comments were in contrast to what Boone said last October, when he supported Harbaugh amid reports of growing tension between the players and the coach.
“I'm really kind of sick of everybody talking about my coach, especially because he's like a brother to me,” Boone attempted to minimize the distractions that threatened the team at the time. “So if I were everybody, I'd just keep their mouth shut because they don't want me coming after them.”
Those remarks came before the 49ers finished the season with an 8-8 record and did not qualify for the playoffs after three straight trips to the NFC Championship Game, including one Super Bowl.
Boone went on to say in the HBO interview that the players had no roles in Harbaugh's departure last fall. In four seasons, Harbaugh finished with a 44-19-1 record and one Super Bowl appearance in four seasons.