Jim Harbaugh thrilled to get going with 49ers

The Jim Harbaugh era can begin with some real honest face-to-face time with players Tuesday morning in San Francisco.

The 49ers will be able to negotiate the expected deal that will bring quarterback Alex Smith back into the fold, and then it’s off for a whirlwind week of activity.

“First order of business is to start seeing our players, getting knee-to-knee and eyeball-to-eyeball with them, and honestly that’s the thing I’m most excited about,” Harbaugh said. “There will be an equilibrium there that’s going to be good for me personally just to be back with those guys.”

Smith took a lead role in organizing player-run practices during the lockout. He did so with a playbook that was given to him and there is clearly a bond between the new coach and the quarterback.

“I was excited to see what was going on, that the players were taking the initiative and organizing workouts and practice, and hopefully that bodes well for us and everybody that participated in those workouts will have a leg up,” Harbaugh said. “I hope that’s the case.”

Harbaugh got the job back in January after guiding Stanford through the bowl season and now he really gets to settle into the position. He admits it feels like he’s been on the job for a long time.

“It does, it does, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “A lot has taken place since then, everybody that’s had to navigate these unchartered waters, and you included. Everybody here knows what that feels like now and how that’s affected each and every one of us. I’m happy for the people that got this done and that we can finally say that we’re back to football and the sacrifices that they made, all the people, the owners, the executive committee, the players, De Smith, everybody.

“I’m thankful that they put in that work and they got this deal done. So now, though it’s still unchartered waters and there’s a myriad of obstacles that are out there right now, the good news is that we can get back to work and we’ve got some timeline to this endeavor now and I’m excited as heck to get working on it. Yeah, I’m nervous, I’m worried, and that’s part of my job to be that way. Me personally, it keeps me on my toes, anxious, all those feelings to get started and get going. But that’s the good news, we can now start.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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