Jim Harbaugh calls NFL's option ruling 'biased'

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh isn't happy with how the NFL is interpreting legal hits on quarterbacks running the read-option.

He called the NFL's ruling "flawed and a bit biased."

In a rules video, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino reviewed read-option plays and says the quarterback while in the act of running the read-option can be hit.

"The quarterback can be hit like a runner until he's clearly out of the play," Blandino said in the video.

A fired-up Harbaugh took issue with the ruling.

"I believe that when a quarterback is handing a ball off or faking a ball -- in the read-option case, he's reading on an option play and he's as defenseless as a quarterback who's in the act of throwing. I know what the rules are, I know how they’ve been explained, but there’s still some gray area. When you start using words like ‘clearly’ — he clearly doesn’t have the ball — what does that really mean? I just handed off, I don’t have the ball, he’s got the ball, put your hands up? There’s a bit of a gray area there. To me, he’s a quarterback until he leaves the pocket as a running threat. I think it’s flawed, the way they’ve got it now.”

What Harbaugh has an issue with is the possibility that star quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be injured.

“Treat him like a running back?” Harbaugh said. “You’re opening a license to hit him outside the strike zone. I’m entitled to my opinion, that’s why I answered the question. I think it’s flawed and I think it’s biased.”

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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