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Kuechly is a sad reminder for Harbaugh

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wanted to recruit Luke Kuechly. He wanted him badly.

Harbaugh struck out while trying to persuade Kuechly to play for him at Stanford. It was five years ago, but it still gnaws at Harbaugh, who thought he had the star linebacker heading to The Farm.

“I thought it went really well,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Sat in the home visit in the living room there in Cincinnati with the Kuechlys and felt confident and sure that Luke would be a Stanford man. And walked out of the living room that night feeling pretty darn good about it and got the tragic news the following week that he was going to Boston College.”

His thoughts after missing on Kuechly?

“What did we do wrong, what did we do wrong?” Harbaugh said.

Sunday, Harbaugh will have to face Kuechly as an opponent. In his second NFL season, Kuechly has established himself as one of the league’s better linebackers and is leading a strong Carolina Panthers defense.

“You could see that he’s a great player and somebody that has got to be blocked or he’ll make every tackle,” Harbaugh said. “Big challenge for us this week.”

Perhaps this one will work out better for Harbaugh.