Everyone knows Jim Harbaugh yells and pouts, but the (soon-to-be-ex?) San Francisco 49ers coach's reputation for intensity soared to a new level this week thanks to an anecdote provided by one of his former players at Stanford.
The Michigan Daily, the student newspaper at the school that is going hard after Harbaugh, unearthed an interesting story from his first year as coach of the Cardinal.
Leading up to a game in 2007, Harbaugh told his players he wished so badly that he could be on the field with them that he said if any of them started bleeding during the game, he wanted to know. He would wipe their blood on his body as a sign of solidarity.
According to interviews with players conducted by Max Cohen, not many of Harbaugh's guys took him seriously.
But sure enough, during that week's game right tackle Chris Marinelli had his arm bloodied after an offensive touchdown drive. Marinelli ran straight to Harbaugh who, excitedly, wiped his hand on Marinelli's arm and then smeared the blood on his own cheek like war paint.
“(Harbaugh is) standing on the sideline with the offensive line, really jacked up, screaming, yelling, jumping around with blood smeared on his face,” Chase Beeler, one of the team’s offensive linemen, told Cohen.
Interestingly, this isn't the only time Harbaugh has asked for one of his players' blood.
After 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks bloodied his cheek during a tackle in 2011, Harbaugh told reporters he longed for some of Brooks' blood.
"Loved it, loved it," Harbaugh said at the time. "Wish he could have come and wiped some of [his blood] on my cheek."
Assuming that Harbaugh is not a vampire, these matching anecdotes attest to his over-the-top passion for the game. That fervor has manifested itself as a double-edged sword, however, and his sometimes aggressive temper is one of the reasons the 49ers may cut ways with Harbaugh after he led them to three NFC championship games in four years.