Jim Harbaugh wants you to believe that the 49ers didn’t pursue Peyton Manning

Jim Harbaugh is attempting to save face. With whom, we don’t know. Alex Smith is already signed and it’s not like Harbaugh really needs to save face with Alex Smith anyway. But for some odd reason, Harbaugh decided to tell reporters gather for his post-practice media session that the 49ers didn’t pursue Peyton Manning.

But what about the fact that the 49ers put Manning through a physical and a private workout, you ask?

Well, according to Harbaugh, that was merely “evaluating”.

“Oh one other thing: There’s a perception out there, and it’s an erroneous perception, that we were flirting with Peyton Manning.

“I keep hearing it over and over. It’s silly and it’s untrue. It’s phony. Even the perception that we were pursuing. We were evaluating.”

Harbaugh continued Wednesday: “I’ve said all along that Alex Smith has been our quarterback. There’s no scenario, other than Alex choosing to sign with another team, that we would consider him not as our quarterback.

“We don’t like to compare or talk about someone on another team. But in this case, it’s time to set the record straight.

“Alex Smith is our quarterback. Was our quarterback. Had every intention of always bringing him back. There would have been no circumstance that would have let Alex Smith go.

“Were we out there seeing and evaluating if we could have them both? Heck yeah. We evaluate and eliminate the possibility.

We’ll indulge Harbaugh in his little game of semantics. Just long enough for him to actually admit that they did pursue Manning.

So did Manning call the 49ers and express interest in joining them?

“Yeah there was interest,” Harbaugh responded. “We evaluated it and pursued it. Er, evaluated it, and there were conversations. I’m not going to go into all the personal conversations.

“There was nothing said to Alex that was not said to Peyton Manning or in-house here, on the record, off the record. Both those young men knew exactly what our intentions were. It was very clear about that: That Alex Smith would be back as our quarterback in 2012 if we could make that signing.”

Good try there, Jim.

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