Joe Cipiti, grandfather of NFL's Harbaugh coaches, dies

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, right,

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, right, and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, left, pose with their parents, Jack and Jackie, and grandfather Joe Cipiti during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans. (Feb. 1, 2013) (Credit: AP )

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- 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 on Monday as the coach begins San Francisco's preparation for the NFC Championship Game next 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.

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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 to be held Friday, "a bit of a crushing blow."

-- AP

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