SANTA CLARA -- If Jim Harbaugh needed an expert witness to help him land a contract extension, former 49ers coach George Seifert offered words of praise Tuesday, along with a humorous anecdote from Harbaugh's playing days.

"I am a big fan of Coach Harbaugh and all that they've done," Seifert said at a news conference for his induction this season into the 49ers Hall of Fame. "I mean it's miraculous to have won the number of games and been in the championship games in a short period of time he's been a head coach here.

"And to turn the program around and to get it back to where we all believe it belongs, it's pretty darn exciting and amazing."

Seifert, 74, vividly recalled how excited Harbaugh got as a winning quarterback, specifically after leading the Indianapolis Colts to an 18-17 win over Seifert's reigning Super Bowl champion 49ers in 1995.

"Jim was instrumental in Indianapolis beating us," Seifert recalled. "Obviously their team was elated and they all ran off to their sideline. There was one player in an Indianapolis uniform that ran towards our sideline: it was Jim Harbaugh, with his arms outstretched like an airplane buzzing us.

"He kind of stuck it in our ear. I thought, well, there's a special emotion there. It's carried over obviously to the way he coaches here."


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Through three season, Harbaugh owns a .761 regular-season winning percentage, just short of Seifert's .766 from 1989-1996. Seifert also has two Super Bowl triumphs to go with his 49ers regular-season mark of 98-30.

Harbaugh (36-11-1 in the regular season) has two years left on a five-year, $25 million contract he signed in 2011 upon leaving Stanford. There have been no imminent signs of an extension being reached, although CEO Jed York has publicly endorsed such a move.

As for Seifert, he says he misses the camaraderie he experienced as a coach and "even the tension of it all. At the same time, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it and I realized there's no way I can do it again. I learned that the hard way."

Seifert said he's "naturally excited" to enter a hall of fame associated with the team he grew up cheering for and getting enshrined with some players and coaches he not only idolized but also worked alongside.

Seifert says he typically speaks with Harbaugh a couple times a year, including an annual visit to a game at the invitation of team owner John York. Otherwise, Seifert said he enjoys watching from his home in Incline Village, Nevada: "I sit with my dog Rusty and watch games, which I enjoy."

Seifert's other interests: "I enjoy having a martini with my wife, walking my dog, and watching my (four) grandchildren play sports and being involved in 4-H, going on trips with my buddies, and going hunting and fishing."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.