Jim Harbaugh staying in contact with Alex Smith

Popular thinking was that Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, has played his final game with the San Francisco 49ers.

But the more new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh evaluates the situation with his team – which has only journeyman David Carr under contract at the position moving forward – the more chances increase Smith could possibly return.

Nothing appears imminent but as Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports, Harbaugh and Smith have met multiple times and that’s a little unusual for a new coach with a player that is coming out of contract. They even went out on to the practice field and played catch.

“We were out on the field -- just two guys throwing the ball around,” Harbaugh said.

The 49ers have negotiating rights with Smith until the start of the new league year, which will be March 4 if the owners and players can reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement before then. It could be that Harbaugh likes the idea of bringing Smith back and working with him. It would be somewhat surprising if there was another team waiting to sign him and make Smith the starter. If Harbaugh likes him, it could be his best situation.

"Right now, as you look at it, there's only one quarterback on the roster," Harbaugh said. "We got to look at all possibilities. That's my job -- to make the best possible evaluation for the organization."

Then there is the school of thought that Smith would be nuts if he wanted to return to San Francisco. Sometimes, a fresh start is the best thing for anyone and he’s been through six offensive coordinators in six seasons. Does he really want to try a seventh play caller in a seventh season with the Niners?

It could happen. We’ll have to wait and see.

Details on Chalk Talk, an NFP Seminar at the Combine

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