Harbaugh takes Finebaum's criticism 'with a grain of salt'

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The Jim Harbaugh-Paul Finebaum feud reached a new level last week, when the Michigan coach called the ESPN radio host "Pete," after Finebaum referred to Harbaugh as a cheater.

Related: Harbaugh blasts ESPN's 'Pete' Finebaum in tweet

During a podcast appearance with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday, Harbaugh addressed Finebaum's comments.

"You try to take it with a grain of salt as they say and put some humor into it," Harbaugh said. "But the annoying part is the people who show their true colors and try to impugn your integrity when you've done nothing wrong. They want to see you fail. They want to take shots. They say 'no good deed goes unpunished,' you hire somebody and what do they do? They go right to impugning your integrity by calling you a cheater."

Finebaum, known as "the voice of the SEC," has long been a critic of Harbaugh's tactics in recruiting and coaching, blasting the Michigan coach on numerous occasions.

Despite the criticism he's faced, the 53-year-old insisted he's thoroughly enjoyed his return to the college game after four years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.

"I'm just having a blast, it's been so much fun coaching these young guys," Harbaugh said. "There's a lot of fun stuff outside of coaching. Being in Ann Arbor, having my parents living right next door to us. Having the kids go to the same school as I did. I'm a 'Swim Dad' now, taking my eight-year-old to practice."

Harbaugh's second season with the Wolverines was going perfectly until mid-November when Michigan finished the season with three losses in its last four games. The trio of narrow defeats is fueling the drive for a more successful campaign in 2017.

"It's definitely sticking with us and driving us for the next season," Harbaugh said. "This past season is as close to being perfect as any team I've ever been on without being perfect. We lost two games by one point and lost the championship game in overtime by three points. Glad we lost them, maybe that will make us better."

Michigan opens the season with a massive non-conference tilt against Florida on Sept. 2.

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