Tuesday, December 17, 2013
December 16, 2013
By Ron Kroichick
Jim Harbaugh had some unusually lively and good-natured exchanges with reporters during his news conference today, especially when placekicker Phil Dawson’s name came up.
Dawson, of course, has become Mr. Automatic for the 49ers — he stretched his ongoing franchise record to 24 consecutive field goals with four more Sunday against Tampa Bay. He also made four in last week’s win over the Seahawks, and Dawson now is 27-of-30 on the season (including one free-kick miss from 71 yards).
So when Harbaugh was asked if he had “asked Dawson to stay beyond this season yet,” he couldn’t resist complying — right there on the spot and with a touch of sarcasm, naturally.
“No, let me do that right now,” Harbaugh said. “Phil, stay beyond this season, please. I’ve been remiss asking him to do that. Let me officially ask him to stay beyond this season.”
Reminded that it was a legitimate question — Dawson, 38, signed a one-year contract as a free agent in March — Harbaugh said, “Absolutely. I’m glad you brought it up. Twenty-four straight field goals — he has been a top-notch guy on the team from the day he got here, a real football player in every sense of the word. That doesn’t always get affixed to kickers and punters, but Phil is that kind of teammate. … A-plus-plus. Very happy with Phil.”
Once Harbaugh was done raving about Dawson, and it took a while, the same reporter then asked if a “long-term deal was coming.
“Pay the man,” Harbaugh said, smiling.