SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh practically galloped through the locker room, lively as ever, offering a wave and a smile to long snapper Brian Jennings before putting his arm around right guard Alex Boone.
The San Francisco 49ers coach was back at work Friday and fired up to be there a day after undergoing a minor procedure for an irregular heartbeat that kept him away for all of half a day.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," Harbaugh said. "No limits. Going about everything as normal. Had a little irregular heartbeat. I've had that before. Now that I have the procedure, a cardiovert, it's amazing. It gets the heart rate back to normal. Atrial flutter is something I've had for a while, most of my life."
The reigning NFL Coach of the Year returned to the field to lead San Francisco through a morning walk-through session, with a full practice scheduled for the afternoon. He did stop by for the final hour of Thursday's practice for a "little bit" of coaching but "more standing."
"It was pretty cool to see him," safety Donte Whitner said. "We knew it was a minor heart thing, but a heart thing no matter if it's minor, it's serious. It felt a little different without him. Hopefully, he doesn't have to go through it again."
Harbaugh, who turns 49 on Dec. 23, was away from the team Thursday for his procedure at Stanford Hospital after undergoing tests Wednesday night. Several players said Friday they were initially scared for their coach, who acknowledged Friday that he underwent a similar procedure called an "ablation" 13 years ago while still playing during a 15-year NFL career at quarterback.
"He's an intense person," fullback Bruce Miller said. "It's definitely a serious issue already with his heart. He's not going to slow down. We're glad he's back."
Doctors talked to Harbaugh about improving his diet and cutting down on caffeine. He said he also will take aspirin and other medication. Whether he could need a follow-up procedure down the road, Harbaugh doesn't know.