49ers QB Smith says he's likely to return

49ers QB Smith says he's likely to return
May 17, 2011, 10:57 pm
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May 17, 201149ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMindi BachCSNBayArea.comQuarterback Alex Smith indicated Tuesday afternoon that he will likely return to play for the 49ers in 2011.Smith made his first public comments of the offseason after a workout with 49ers teammates. A relaxed Smith asked that he not be quoted directly, but was willing to speak informally about his future with the team.When the season concluded, there seemed little chance that Smith would want to return to the 49ers. But a lot has changed in Smith's world.
When he met with new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in January, the two men hit it off immediately, Smith said. He said he liked the idea of playing for an offensive-minded head coach who played quarterback in the NFL. Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary, 49ers head coaches since 2005, both came from defensive backgrounds.
Smith's professional options have been limited because of the NFL lockout, which has prevented the former No. 1 overall pick from testing the free-agent market.
Smith indicated a personal consideration is a factor in his reluctance to move from the Bay Area. Smith's wife, Elizabeth, gave birth Wednesday to the couple's first child, a boy.Smith last met with Harbaugh on April 29 when the NFL lockout was briefly lifted. During their face-to-face meeting, it became apparent Smith's union with the 49ers would likely continue for at least another season.Harbaugh indicated as much when he gave Smith a copy of the 49ers' new playbook, which features the West Coast terminology."I feel he's coming back to the team," Harbaugh said on April 30.On Tuesday, Smith said the playbook's terminology is most similar to his first NFL offense, which then-offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy installed in 2005. McCarthy was the first of six offensive coordinators Smith had in as many seasons with the 49ers.From what he has seen in the playbook, 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan said he "loves" the new offense. He said he believes it fits Smith's strengths. Morgan has worked regularly with Smith since the lockout."He looks like he did at Utah" Morgan said.CSNBayArea.com's Matt Maiocco contributed to this report.

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