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Smith making more sense as 49ers' starting QB

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted May 11, 2011 @ 5:31 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

The more new 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh takes the time to talk about the team's tenuous QB situation, the more likely it seems that free agent Alex Smith will indeed re-sign and remain the starter. For months now, sources close to Smith have contended that Harbaugh would have to do a major sales job to keep the former first-round draft pick from opting for a change of scenery after getting consistently ripped in the court of public opinion.

"It sure does seem like he (Harbaugh) has succeeded," a team insider told PFW. "He just keeps making it sound like there's a new deal pretty much in place."

As for Smith, "he is laying really low," the insider said. "He has not been returning any calls. I know he was expecting his first child, which already might have happened. But the way the Niners are acting, it really looks like they want him back."

Of course, it also really looked to many close observers like the Niners might draft Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert with their first-round draft pick this season before catching everybody off guard with their selection of Gabbert's teammate, DE Aldon Smith.

"That move was stunning to everybody," the insider said. "Not only that, but you sure wouldn't have figured on (Nevada QB Colin) Kaepernick in the second round, either, considering how critical (Niners GM Trent) Baalke was of him. I don't know if Harbaugh convinced Baalke to have a change of heart or what.

"There's a big belief apparently that Harbaugh, the former quarterback, has what it takes to turn Smith around. But I don't know what he's going to do better than Norv Turner or Mike Martz or Mike McCarthy, all of whom have worked with Alex."       

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