- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Joe Cipiti, the grandfather of NFL coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, has died. He was 98.

Cipiti died Sunday morning in Ohio, and Jim Harbaugh spoke fondly of his grandfather Monday as the coach begins San Francisco’s preparation for the NFC championship game Sunday in Seattle.

Along with the Harbaughs’ parents, Cipiti attended last year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans, where John’s Baltimore Ravens beat Jim’s 49ers 34-31.

Jim Harbaugh says his grandpa watched as San Francisco beat Green Bay in the wild-card round Jan. 5. The coach says it was hard leading his team during Sunday’s 23-10 victory at Carolina, calling his grandfather, “an amazing storyteller. He is a poet of life. A man that was all about family.”

He will miss the memorial service Friday, “a bit of a crushing blow.”

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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