May 19, 2011
The relationship between Jim Harbaugh and 49er QB Alex Smith is an interesting one. First and foremost, Smith is not even really a 49er. In a normal year, he’d be a free agent right now. But thanks to the lockout, Smith is operating as if he’s the 49er starter – and he might be come Week One, even though the Niners drafted Colin Kaepernick.
Alex Smith hosting 49er camps… This has been a strange off-season, and the relationship of Smith and new coach Jim Harbaugh is probably one of the strangest. Clearly, if Harbaugh had his druthers, as a former NFL QB he’d have handpicked the 49ers starting QB in 2011 by now. He did indeed draft rookie Colin Kaepernick, but Kaepernick is raw and is unlikely to be ready without the benefit of OTAs. So Smith, who does not have a contract with the 49ers, is actually running 49er off-season camps himself. He still has his playbook from Harbaugh and he has openly said he wants to return, and he’s putting himself in a good position to be the guy when the 49ers open the season. Once the lockout ends, Harbaugh will have a choice of Smith, Kaepernick, or another veteran unprepared in his offense. Right now, all indications are that it’ll be Smith. Oh, and in more light-hearted but connected news, Harbaugh got league permission to get on Smith’s good side, by sending Smith’s wife flowers after the birth of their first child.
Mike Sims-Walker wants to play in Miami… It’s looking incredibly unlikely that Mike Sims-Walker will be back in a Jaguar uniform once the NFL season kicks off. The Jags didn’t tender him a contract before the lockout, and after the draft they assigned rookie QB Blaine Gabbert the #11 Sims-Walker has worn for the last few years. By now, MSW has already decided to move on, and although he recently praised the Jacksonville coaching staff, he’s apparently chosen to want to play in Miami. There is incentive for MSW there – he went to the University of Central Florida, so he remains close to home. But another UCF alum who plays in Miami? How about WR Brandon Marshall? The two are friends and played together at UCF, and they could form a damn solid WR duo once the season gets off the ground.
- Joe Dolan