INDIANAPOLIS** – Jim Harbaugh earned the nickname "Captain Comeback" for the thrills he provided Colts fans as the club's quarterback from 1994-97, specifically when he directed the 1995 team to within a few seconds of Super Bowl XXX.
Harbaugh moved on to Baltimore and San Diego to conclude his playing career, then he started coaching, a profession he always wanted to attack.
Prior to joining San Francisco this season, he was the head coach at Stanford. On Thursday, he spoke of the quarterback who replaced him in Indianapolis, Peyton Manning. Harbaugh also talked about Andrew Luck, who he coached at Stanford. He also lauded Robert Griffin III, whom he tried to recruit to Stanford.
Manning replaced Harbaugh with the Colts and proceeded to author an outstanding career. Harbaugh offered his perspective on giving way to Manning.
"If you're going to get replaced by somebody, that's a pretty good guy to get replaced by, isn't it? I kind of take some pride in that," said Harbaugh.
When asked how remarkable he thought Manning has done, Harbaugh claims the wording of the question was quite appropriate.
"I think that's the exact, right word, remarkable," said Harbaugh. "(To think) your career would be something people would talk about and remark about. In the history of the game, you're talking about a quarterback whose career will be talked about for 50, 100 years to come. He's been that kind of player in the National Football League. It's been remarkable. That's a good word."
The topic of quarterbacks will be a popular one in Indianapolis at this week's Combine. Harbaugh mentored Andrew Luck at Stanford, and he tried to recruit Robert Griffin III to Stanford. He is fond of both players.
"Have you ever played 'spades,' it's a trump game," asked Harbaugh when queried on Luck's abilities. "He's (Luck) holding a lot of aces in a lot of suits.
"He's got all the qualities, really, mentally, physically. He's as prepared as anybody you're going to find. That's my opinion. He's really good. He has a lot of talent."
Griffin put together an outstanding career at Baylor just as Luck did at Stanford. Harbaugh notices qualities Griffin possesses, too.
"I know a lot about Robert. We recruited Robert out of high school," said Harbaugh. "Robert was a 4.0 student. (He has) great parents. He comes from a great home. He's had great success at Baylor. Past performance usually indicates future success. He's had nothing but a history of success. You would predict great achievements in the future."
Griffin did not respond Harbaugh's recruiting overtures, but that did not stop the classy Harbaugh from wanting him to succeed.
"I'm really fond of Robert through the recruiting process," said Harbaugh. "He made that decision. He makes good decisions. He makes cool decisions. He's very conscientious in everything he does. I respected his decision and wished him well."