Posted February 22, 2014

Mike Pettine: Browns’ alleged interest in Jim Harbaugh ‘just noise’

AFC North, Cleveland Browns
Mike Pettine takes over as Cleveland's head coach after a one-year stint in Buffalo. (Mark Duncan/AP)

Mike Pettine takes over as Cleveland’s head coach after a one-year stint in Buffalo. (Mark Duncan/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine dismissed the franchise’s rumored interest in trading with San Francisco for Jim Harbaugh as “just noise” during a NFL combine press conference Saturday.

A report surfaced Friday claiming that the Browns and 49ers were on the verge of deal that would have made Harbaugh the head coach in Cleveland in exchange for draft picks. Harbaugh reportedly chose to stay in San Francisco, while the Browns later turned their attention to hiring Pettine.

“I got a phone call saying that report was going to come out,” Pettine said, “and I kind of shot the messenger because I said, ‘How does that affect my tenure going forward?’”

49ers CEO Jed York denied the Harbaugh report on Twitter late Friday afternoon, and a “high-ranking” 49ers source told the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that it was “completely false. Ridiculous.”

Pettine was hired on Jan. 23, ending Cleveland’s lengthy search to replace Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after one season at the helm. The Browns were the last team to put their head coach in place heading into the offseason.

“It shows the organization is committed to getting this turned around,” said Pettine of the Browns’ reported pursuit of Harbaugh. “I see that as a positive thing.”

Pettine added that the rumor had “no bearing on my job moving forward. It’s part of my job dealing with noise and distractions.”