To an almost nauseating degree, Jim Harbaugh seems done having to re-endorse Alex Smith time and time again. But just for fun, he reiterated his stance at the NFL Combine earlier today saying, "Alex is our guy. That's well documented. He had a tremendous season." But this is the draft where the best quarterback prospect since John Elway is coming out, and Harbaugh coached him.
The projected #1 overall pick and Stanford Cardinal Andrew Luck will be on display for 32 NFL teams, including his former head coach and mentor. But without hesitation, Harbaugh knows that QB-coach relationship is a thing of the past; the future is with Alex Smith.
Inferring the 49ers would not make an aggressive move for Luck: "He's one of the finest football players I've ever been around, and an even better person...he's a joy to coach. I'm not looking forward to playing against him, I can tell you that," said Harbaugh. So in the past month, Harbaugh has put Smith ahead of quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning, both whom he could acquire if he wanted to go after one seriously.
The endorsement's keeping rolling in for Smith, maybe he'll be the next Discount Double Check guy. But for now, he seems to be Harbaugh's ace in the hole. This goes beyond any quarterback-coach relationship I've seen in the pros the last few years. I guess one thinks of Belichick and Brady or Payton and Brees, but not even those guys gush about each other like this.
Smith is still without a contract, as the 49ers are currently trying to get something done that would see to it Smith is the quarterback for the next half-decade or so. "When your quarterback isn't signed and he's a free agent, that results in some lost sleep," Harbaugh said at the combine.
The deal with Smith is likely to happen over the next week or two, as we've seen Ben Roethlisberger's contract restructured and Jermichael Finley sign a two-year deal; teams are starting to take care of their players and Smith is clearly the 49ers top priority.
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