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San Francisco 49ers, coach Jim Harbaugh officially part ways

The divorce is now official between coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers.

49ers owner and chief executive officer Jed York made the announcement in a statement Sunday night after San Francisco's 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

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"Jim and I have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions," York said. "We thank Jim for bringing a tremendous competitive nature and a great passion for the game to the 49ers. He and his staff restored a winning culture that has been the standard for our franchise throughout its history."

The younger brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh coached the 49ers to three NFC championship games and a Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Ravens in four seasons. The 49ers finished 8-8 this season.

Now, Jim Harbaugh is widely expected to become the next coach at Michigan, where he once starred at quarterback and is rumored to have been offered a six-year, $48 million contract. Jim Harbaugh was expected to have options of remaining in the NFL, perhaps with the Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears or New York Jets, but he is reportedly set to accept the Michigan job.

Jim Harbaugh got the game ball Sunday and was doused with an ice bucket by his players.

During a conference call last week with Cleveland reporters, John Harbaugh praised Jim Harbaugh for how he has handled so much scrutiny about his future and denied a report that the family was trying to convince him to take the Michigan job.

Jim Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four years with the 49ers after leaving Stanford.

"For the last four seasons I have had the great privilege to coach one of the storied franchises in the history of football," Harbaugh said in a statement. "We accomplished many great things together as a team during this period, which is a tribute to the incredible efforts of some of the most dedicated players and coaches in the NFL.

"I will miss competing alongside this group of players and coaches, I have the utmost respect and admiration for their hard work and support. It has been my honor to share the sideline with these mighty men. I will always appreciate and remember fondly, the passion and support of our Faithful fans, and want to express my particular thanks to them."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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