Jed York has an opinion, and his opinion actually means something. Or his opinion means more than a reporter's, yours, or mine.
Before a story about the creative tensions between Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke popularized the topic this week, a member of the 49ers organization acknowledged the occasional friction between the duo.
That person: Jed York.
In February, before Super Bowl XLVIII in New Orleans, the 49ers CEO said Harbaugh and Baalke had an excellent working relationship. But that didn't mean they always agreed.
"They both get to the same place, I'd say, 95 percent of the time," York said. "But they take different paths to get there. And the five percent where they don't? That's always very entertaining to see those conversations. But they fight with each other and they push each other because they both want to win."
In this excellent column, the San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami spelled out some of those disagreements. In February, in explaining their sometimes-testy relationship and different personalities, York brought up a decision on which Harbaugh and Baalke agreed: The decision to draft Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2011.
"They collectively came to the decision that Colin was the right guy for us," York said. "And they liked for him for different reasons. Jim is a gut-feeling kind of guy. Trent is an analytical, like everything needs to sort of fit and I'm going to make sure that everything is perfect. And I'm going to go through the analysis process."
Kawakami's column made the Harbaugh-Baalke dynamic a talking point today when York made an appearance on KNBR. He said their differences haven't prompted Harbaugh to pine for more power when it comes to personnel decisions.
"He's never asked for that," York said. "He's never intimated any of that. I mean, it's easy to say, it's easy to speculate: Well, he was in college and he had full control and he wants full control here.' That sounds great until you actually get to reality.
"And Jim's never really asked for that. Now do we butt heads on players from time to time? Of course, that's what coaches and GMs do. But Jim knows that being a coach is a full-time job and he has a lot respect for the job that Trent has done."
Added York: "They sit down and argue things out and then they figure out what's the best thing for the 49ers and let's move forward. That's really how I see this team operating in the future and in perpetuity."
Looking to the near future, York said he hopes to reach a contract extension with Harbaugh, who is in the third season of a five-year, $25 million deal.
"You really can't ask for a much better job than what he's done in his first two-and-a-half seasons," York said. "Now is not the right time to get into a deep contract discussion, but he knows we want him here long-term. And we'll sit down at the end of the season. We'll assess like we always do and I definitely anticipate Jim being here for a long period of time."