(Reuters) - New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s comments that San Francisco lineman Justin Smith “gets away with murder” were incendiary, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said on Friday, two days before the teams meet in San Francisco.
“Kevin Gilbride’s outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy,” Harbaugh said in a statement on Friday.
”Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league.
“It’s obvious that the Giants coaching staff’s sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating.”
Gilbride’s comments on Thursday about defensive end Smith had provoked Harbaugh’s outburst and gave added spice to the encounter which is a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game, which the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants won 20-17 in overtime.
“He’s strong, he does as good a job of grabbing a hold of offensive linemen and allowing those twists to take place,” Gilbride had said, according to a transcript on the Giants’ website.
“He never gets called for it so he gets away with murder,”
The Giants enter the game with a 3-2 record while the 49ers are 4-1.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury