Jim Harbaugh ended the 49ers' eight-year playoff drought in his first season. In year two, San Francisco made its first Super Bowl appearance since 1994. Despite his success, any warm feelings between the head coach and his players went away quickly.
"He does a great job of giving you that spark, that initial boom," 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone says on an upcoming episode of HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumble," according to ProFootballTalk. "But after a while, you just want to kick his.... 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."
Harbaugh himself didn't deny his tendency to wear on people.
"They just don't want to be around you after a while," he said.
Harbaugh and the 49ers parted ways after his fourth season, the first in which San Francisco failed to reach the playoffs with an 8-8 record, though he was already rumored to be on the hot seat before the regular season began because of his overbearing style.
"I think he just pushed guys too far," Boone said. "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.'"
After his separation from the 49ers, Harbaugh was quickly picked up by his alma mater, the University of Michigan. For now, the two appear to be enjoying the honeymoon period, though it might be brief.