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Old 10-29-2011   #1
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Default Mr. Soft keeps 49ers hard around the edges

Mr. Soft keeps 49ers hard around the edges
Posted on October 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm by San Francisco Chronicle

They're the talk of the NFL, the charming tale of a once-proud franchise in full resurrection. The 49ers are 5-1 with a gaudy three-game lead in the NFC West. Only one team, Green Bay, owns a better record. They're 8 1/2-point favorites to beat Cleveland on Sunday.

Yes, things are good.

Too good, maybe?

In the on-edge, ever-paranoid world of football coaches - where no detail is too trivial to fret - coach Jim Harbaugh worries about complacency and overconfidence. He doesn't want those evil creatures finding their way into the team's Santa Clara headquarters and interfering with this unlikely, invigorating season of revival.

So Harbaugh essentially invented Frederick P. Soft, a fictional character who plants his little imaginary self on players' shoulders and tells them how great they are. "Watch out for Freddy" has become the unofficial mantra of these 49ers.

"He brings it up every day," defensive tackle Ray McDonald said this week. "He's like, 'You've got to watch out for Freddy P. Soft. He's lurking. He's on the corner.' That's his little thing where he tries to keep guys motivated to not be mentally soft."


Perhaps Lombardi was thinking the Texans need an imaginary friend ... ?
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