Harbaugh views QB silence as competitive advantage

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Harbaugh views QB silence as competitive advantage

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith on Friday went through simulated contact on Friday that is required to return from a concussion.

Just prior to the 49ers' departure for New Orleans, coach Jim Harbaugh had a hand-held blocking pad and pushed it up against Smith as he was throwing passes on the practice field. Team medical director, Dr. Dan Garza, closely observed the brief drill.

Smith made it through OK, but must remain symptom-free over the weekend to gain final clearance. But even if Smith is ultimately cleared to play there is no guarantee he will step on the field Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Entering the weekend, the 49ers officially list Smith as questionable.
Harbaugh declined to announce Friday whether Smith or Colin Kaepernick will start against the Saints. Kaepernick received most of the practice time this week, and is expected to get the call. Smith could be in line to serve as the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback on Sunday.
"We feel like there's no competitive advantage for us to release that information for our organization or our team," Harbaugh said. Harbaugh said there's "possibly" a competitive advantage in not releasing the information before kickoff."Maybe one percent, a small percentage," Harbaugh said. "We'll chase that, sure. We just do not get into what the roles are going to be, how we're going to use them and the specifics of that."The 49ers might keep the drama alive until the starting offense runs out on the field Sunday at the Superdome."It's just not something we think is an advantage for us to talk about," Harbaugh said. "And you may have your opinions on it. It's unorthodox. So be it. You can call me names if you want, or make sport of me. But that's the way were going to go about it."Smith went through a full week of limited practice for the second week. He experienced concussion symptoms last week and was denied clearance to suit up against the Chicago Bears on Monday.
Smith has not experienced symptoms -- headaches or nausea -- since Tuesday, Harbaugh said. Kaepernick has taken most of the 49ers' first-team practice snaps, which could be an indication Kaepernick will make his second NFL start on Sunday.Kaepernick completed 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the 49ers' 32-7 victory over the Bears on Monday. That performance might have earned him a chance to unseat Smith as the starter.
Harbaugh did not comment on whether he has told the quarterbacks of their roles. But Harbaugh refuted a Sports Illustrated report from Wednesday that stated Harbaugh informed Smith that Kaepernick would start."Not factual. Not factual," Harbaugh said. "And I know there are probably a lot of reports out there.Harbaugh said Bob Lange, the 49ers' director of public relations, brought some national reports to his attention over the past three days."Really, I didn't see any that were factual that he showed me, including that one," Harbaugh said.

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.

Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.

"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.

Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.

After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.

With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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