The Brothers Harbaugh made an appearance on ESPN Radio Chicago in part to discuss the upcoming season and in part to promote their appearance on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel tonight. The new episode of Real Sports will look at the entire family as Jim and John join their dad Jack in the coaching ranks. The episode airs at 7:00pm pacific on HBO-E and at 10:00pm pacific on HBO-W.
Naturally the radio interview included a question about Alex Smith and the 49ers QB situation. As would be expected, Harbaugh stated that the coaching staff didn't know who the best players were on the team at this point. He said he was looking forward to the training camp competition that would hopefully include Alex Smith (covering his backside from further NFL complaints), Colin Kaepernick, and "we will see who are other quarterbacks are and our free agents and get going."
Harbaugh referenced any potential politics in the decision:
Throw the balls out there and let them compete for it with no politics, no games and no ‘I like this guy better than that guy.' We will go out there and find out who the best guy is."
We all know Jim Harbaugh likes something about Alex Smith. He has heaped praise upon him throughout the offseason to the point of getting in trouble with the league. I do think part of it is knowing that the lockout puts them in a tough bind where the odds were going to increase that Smith would return. At the same time, Harbaugh (and Baalke I would presume) liked Colin Kaepernick enough to make a move for him on day two of the NFL Draft.
To date we haven't heard a whole lot about where the coaching staff views Kaepernick, but given the lack of surface interaction, that's not exactly surprising. Harbaugh has had a chance to do some work with Alex Smith and his interactions with Kaepernick have been relegated to when the team was working him out and didn't know if he would be around when the 49ers made their pick. It will be interesting to see if Captain Comeback and his coaching staff take more of a shine to Kaepernick when training camp begins.