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Jim Harbaugh won't stop believin' in Alex Smith

Sounds like QB will return for 7th season with 49ers Brad Biggs

Print This April 13, 2011, 08:47 PM EST

The San Francisco 49ers extended the offer of a one-year contract to Alex Smith before the NFL lockout, according to a report by Matt Barrow of the Sacramento Bee.

And from the sounds of things, the offer will remain on the table whenever the NFL returns to business.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft has been underwhelming. Many believe he’d be best served by a fresh start. After all, he’s already been through an annual changing of offensive coordinators. Consider that Smith couldn’t get going playing for noted quarterback gurus Mike Martz, Norv Turner and Mike McCarthy.

Harbaugh seems to think Smith has a chance to succeed.

“Well, the question is, 'Do you have baby deer skin or skin like an armadillo?" Harbaugh told Barrow. "That's where the rubber meets the road there. If someone doesn't like me or doesn't cheer loud for me - is he going to be deep and emotionally scarred by that? I mean, most true competitors, most men like that would take offense to somebody inferring that about him."

Smith will be an unrestricted free agent, but per Barrows he continues to work out with 49ers players in the Bay Area. It sounds like he’ll get a shot at a seventh season there but the 49ers are actively looking for a young passer. It sounds like Harbaugh believes he can succeed with Smith.

“He's a tough son of a gun," Harbaugh said. "I watched four really solid years of every snap the guy took - getting hit in the pocket, picking himself back up, playing under adversity, fierce competitor. I don't think (booing) will affect the guy."

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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