Harbaugh Expects QB Alex Smith To Start If He Returns

If Alex Smith is on the roster at the start of the regular season, new coach Jim Harbaugh thinks he will be under center and not wearing a ball cap with a clipboard on the sidelines.

New 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is so sure Alex Smith will play for San Francisco this season, he gave the unsigned free agent a playbook during the NFL draft. Harbaugh even expects Smith to be his starting quarterback if and when the 2011 season swings around. This, one day after the 49ers drafted Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round to be the quarterback of their future. “Alex is definitely going to have a head start,” Harbaugh said after the draft ended Saturday. “He’s played in the NFL, he’s won games in the NFL. If I’m a betting man, then I’m betting on Alex Smith.” The 49ers can’t actually re-sign Smith until the lockout ends. He declined to accept their one-year contract before the lockout, and Harbaugh said there is no “gentlemen’s agreement” in place.

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