SANTA CLARA — Andrew Luck played quite a role in landing the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh his first NFL coaching job. Harbaugh helped pave the path to the quarterback becoming the No. 1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in last year's draft out of Stanford.
They will be reunited as respected opponents and friends Sunday, finding themselves in the strange position of game-planning against each other in Week 3 while each trying to bounce back from tough losses.
"I can't speak for Coach Harbaugh, but I definitely feel like he helped me get to where I am," Luck said Wednesday. "He obviously turned Stanford around, his efforts probably more than anybody. That was a big part of having some success for me was getting to play at a great program, well-run program, well-coached football team. I would definitely attribute a lot of where I am now to the positive impact that he's had on me."
These two spent the 2008-2010 seasons together on The Farm, with Luck starting the final two years and leading the Cardinal to an Orange Bowl victory after his junior season. Harbaugh departed in January 2011 to move just down the 101 freeway and join the 49ers, while Luck opted to stay in school for his senior season.
On Wednesday, Luck even downplayed his talents when asked about how he would fare running the read option, and he sounded a lot like Harbaugh in the process.