In yesterday's press conference, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked some questions about Alex Smith and his future with the 49ers. The comments were not exactly shocking, but they have picked up some traction in the last 24 hours.
Coach Harbaugh was asked about his previous comment about Alex being his guy moving forward and whether he had spoken with Alex about this. Coach Harbaugh said he had since he would not say one thing to the media about a player and not say it to the player as well. This is not ground-breaking information, but it is still worth noting as the team moves through the playoffs and eventually starts offseason preparations for 2012.
The highlight of that little segment, and I would say the entire press conference was this:
Is there sort of a verbal agreement, almost like what you guys had before the lockout lifted? "Hey we're going to move forward."
"No, no. I don't know exactly what verbal agreement you're referreing to."
Coach Harbaugh might as well have plugged his fingers in his ears and screamed "LA! LA! LA! I can't hear you!" I don't know how potential tampering and previous lockout rules might or might not be applied after the fact in this case, but it is not worth messing around with this sort of thing. So, just plead ignorance.
In regards to Alex Smith, at this point his return would seem almost inevitable. At some point this past offseason his return seemed inevitable given how the lockout was progressing. There is no lockout to worry about this year, but whatever your opinion of Alex Smith, his return does once again seem inevitable.
Things do change and new opportunities can present themselves, so there is no 100% guarantee that Smith returns. Both sides need to agree to a deal. While it seems like a deal should not really be that difficult to hammer out, business is business.
What I think becomes more interesting is the question whether the 49ers bring back Scott Tolzien or find another backup. There is no real word on that and given that Tolzien has spent the season inactive each week, I don't think anybody really knows what the coaching staff think of the rookie QB. They jumped on him when he was released by the San Diego Chargers, but that was also four months ago. Things change.