What’s the deal with Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll?

Sep 8, 2011, 9:42 AM | Updated: 11:35 am

By Liz Mathews

Head coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh spoke at the owners’ meeting this offseason, although the two are hardly friends. The conversation consisted of football and the transition to the NFL.

“I like him, I like being around him,” Harbaugh said of Carroll during his conference call on Wednesday. “We don’t socialize. You wouldn’t call us friends or anything like that but I got to say that really, the only friend I have in the NFL is my brother [Ravens coach John Harbaugh] who’s on an opposing team. We’re trying to beat those guys, you know.”

But not quite two years ago, the conversation wasn’t nearly as amicable. After USC’s 55-21 loss to Stanford at the Coliseum, Carroll and Harbaugh met at midfield to exchange some postgame words.

“He said, ‘What’s your deal?’ I said, ‘What’s your deal?’” Harbaugh explained. “And then from there, it’s about as well-documented a six word sentence as there could be. I just find it very irrelevant and not very intriguing. It had little to do with the game then and it has very little to do with the game now.”

All now being said and done, Harbaugh has great respect for Carroll and everything he has done for the game of football, including what he has managed here in Seattle. But Harbaugh has his own job to do in his first season as head coach of the 49ers.

And one of his early tasks was naming Alex Smith the starting quarterback.

“Well, just in a nutshell, I thought it was the best thing for our team,” Harbaugh said.

“Throughout the training camp since we’ve been together — great attention to detail, takes a lot of pride in his own personal performance and the offense’s performance and the team’s performance,” Harbaugh said of Smith. “Great leader, great team guy. I think he’s getting more and more comfortable and confident in what we’re doing and what he’s doing.”

And the 49ers rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick isn’t looking too shabby, either. “Kap’s been really good growing,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a process for him. Very bright, very strong armed lad. Sturdy guy, very competitive and I’ve been really pleased with Colin’s progress.”

Speaking of quarterbacks, Harbaugh was the last quarterback to start for the Indianapolis Colts before Peyton Manning took the helm. Manning has now been officially ruled out for Sunday, ending his streak of 227 consecutive starts.

“I know my last year with Indianapolis was 1997 so that really speaks volumes for the impact that he’s had on the Indianapolis Colts, the longevity and tremendous performance,” Harbaugh said.

“It’s amazing.”

49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith also spoke with the media via conference call on Wednesday.

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks Noah Fant...
Brent Stecker

Bump’s Breakdown: Why Seahawks’ TEs need to play big role in offense

The Seahawks' offense showed improvement in Week 3. What's the next step? Michael Bumpus breaks down the importance of Seattle's tight ends.
1 day ago
Seahawks Al Woods...
Brent Stecker

K.J. Wright: The issue in Seahawks’ defensive scheme, and how to fix it

"You can keep the scheme but jiggy rig it a little bit to what the fellas are really good at," ex-NFL linebacker K.J. Wright said about the Seahawks' defense.
1 day ago
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Brent Stecker

Seahawks Football 101: Correcting a pair of basic mistakes

Former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman breaks down a Seahawks play each on offense and defense from last Sunday's loss to the Falcons.
1 day ago
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Brent Stecker

Bump: Who has been Seahawks’ best offensive player so far

The Seahawks have talent on offense, but the answer to who has been the best player on that side of the ball may be a surprise.
2 days ago
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Brandon Gustafson

Huard: Grading out Geno Smith’s performance for Seahawks vs Falcons

What did former NFL QB Brock Huard think of Seahawks QB Geno Smith's day vs Atlanta? He broke it down during Monday's Brock and Salk.
2 days ago
Seahawks Pete Carroll...
Brandon Gustafson

Carroll: What Seahawks can do to improve against the run on defense

During the weekly Pete Carroll Show, Seahawks HC Pete Carroll dove into his team's run defense after a 27-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
3 days ago
What’s the deal with Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll?