49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was the featured speaker at the University of Nevada’s “Governor’s Dinner” at the Governor’s mansion in Carson City, Nevada.
In addition to disclosing that he is withdrawing from next week’s American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe so he can be ready if the lockout ends, Harbaugh was able to shake hands and make small talk with 49ers second-round quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a Nevada alum.
“We aren’t going to find some grease board and sneak off to some back room at the Governor’s Mansion and talk football,” Harbaugh said according to Joe Santoro for the Nevada Appeal. “We just said hello, shook hands and made small talk. We’re not breaking any rules.”
NFL rules during the lockout prohibits contact between coaches and players, though exceptions are made for charity events or, in the case of the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, a ring ceremony.
The lockout has also prevented Harbaugh from doing any on-field work with his players this offseason, though free agent Alex Smith, who is expected to be re-signed when the lockout ends, has organized player-only workouts at San Jose State University.
Smith taking on a leadership role this offseason has many expecting him to be the starter in 2011, but Harbaugh says it will be an open competition.
“The best guy will play. The guy who practices the best, the guy who plays the best will play,” said Harbaugh. “There won’t be any games, there won’t be any politics. We’re going to throw the balls out there and let those guys have at it.”