In Churchill's land, 49ers' coach awaits Jaguars

Updated: October 25, 2013, 1:54 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- His players may be more interested in eating and shopping. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wants to draw on the force of history.

His team is in London, where Winston Churchill's commanding oratory once inspired a nation. For Harbaugh, this is hallowed turf. The coach reportedly has a photo of the British wartime leader in his office, with Churchill's books lining the shelves.

"As much as I can soak in about Winston Churchill. He's my favorite figure of all time," Harbaugh said Friday. "I'm hopeful of getting a chance to see his (underground cabinet) war room. That would be one of the real highlights of my life."

But the might and eloquence of Churchill is tempered by a more mundane task -- playing the winless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars are 0-7 and facing a 49ers team that is 5-2.

"I just told the team we're not looking to set any world records," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Friday. "We're asking them to be their personal best, and we feel like if we get everybody to get to be their personal best then we'll see what happens. We have yet to do that this year and we're striving to get there. Not so much perfection but just more excellence."

Bradley is also carrying the weight of personal loss -- his father died Sunday.

"I think in my heart my Dad will always live, and I try to please him each and every day and I think that's all we can do," Bradley said. "I am proud of our team and I think I want (to win on Sunday) more for them than anything."

Players from both teams were set to enjoy some free time Friday. The 49ers had some sightseeing stops on the itinerary: Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and Trafalgar Square.

Some players continued to warm to talk of a potential London franchise for the NFL.

"I love London. I would definitely be one of those guys that signs up to that team," said 49ers safety Donte Whitner, who was making his eighth trip to the city.

The Jaguars will be seeing more of London down the road. This is the first of four games over four years at Wembley for the team. The Dallas Cowboys are their opponent next season when the NFL holds three regular games in London. Last month, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in London.

The 49ers are used to traveling, with the team expected to cover an NFL-high 32,948 miles by the end of the regular season. They played at Wembley in 2010, beating the Denver Broncos 24-16.

"I don't think it's all that different from being in San Francisco and playing East Coast games," Whitner said. "It's just a couple more hours' flight."

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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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