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NFL sends 49ers memo about Alex Smith talk

Jim Harbaugh AP

We’ve touched upon the odd circumstances surrounding the 49ers and Alex Smith more than once this offseason.  Even though Smith is a free agent, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh gave Smith a playbook and expects Smith to be the team’s starting quarterback.

The NFL stepped in, thinking this all was a little awkward to be out in the public.

“The league has mandated we do not talk about [Smith],” Harbaugh said last week via Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. “The NFL has mandated that we don’t talk about players who are not under contract — who are free agents who haven’t signed. We’ve been sent a memo saying we can’t talk about it.”

A team spokesman confirmed to Branch that Harbaugh was told to zip it in the future while talking about free agents.  Even if those free agents are running your player-only practices during the offseason.

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17 Responses to “NFL sends 49ers memo about Alex Smith talk”
  1. mrlynch33 says: May 31, 2011 1:44 PM

    What does Goddell have against the niners?

  2. 1phd says: May 31, 2011 1:46 PM

    Poor Harbaugh, already getting sh*t for embracing Alexa. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet kimosabe.

  3. myballsmyrules says: May 31, 2011 1:50 PM

    I think it would be hilarious if the Cards or Seahawks signed Smith.

    Can their be a more inept run team in the league?

    I know Snyder and Al are candidates, but they would not ok giving out playbooks to unsigned free agents

  4. deelron says: May 31, 2011 2:05 PM

    So everything is cool with the situation but actually confirming what is obvious. This is an excellent example why so many people find those in charge of professional sports leagues rediculous.

  5. ampats says: May 31, 2011 2:16 PM

    Guess the Niners didn’t learn their lesson after Lance Briggs

  6. sonoco says: May 31, 2011 2:20 PM

    The memo will stop the public dialogue between the Niners/Harbaugh and Smith, other than that this is a non-issue.

  7. ceadderman says: May 31, 2011 2:34 PM

    Honestly, there really shouldn’t be any conversation about FA players and that’s a pretty fine line to cross. The writers know this. Why asked loaded questions when you know it can get the team you write about in trouble.

    But there are ways of asking questions where no names are dropped.

    “So have you thought about re-signing your QBs’? Is that likely or unlikely?”

    No references to Il Unce however. In any language we know who you’re referring to. haha

  8. nineroutsider says: May 31, 2011 3:14 PM

    The NFL is always eager to make an example out of the Niners, WTF?

    Any team with a new coach and a new system is totally screwed this season more than usual, but I don’t blame Harbaugh for trying.

    To borrow a phrase from a fellow PFTer…may the flies of a thousand camels nest in Roger Goodell’s bed.

  9. blitzinc43 says: May 31, 2011 3:18 PM

    Most underachieving team for their talent in the league.

  10. willycents says: May 31, 2011 3:32 PM

    Just a thought…teams cannot have contact with players, right? Wondering if they can have contact with Jamarcus Russell since he proved he is not a player,,,,just thinking of ways out for the 9ers, maybe they could use that approach to contact the qb?

  11. thewhitestguyhere says: May 31, 2011 3:53 PM

    Pretty sure Harbaugh is a better evaluator of talent than all of idiots. I’ll trust him

  12. swissard says: May 31, 2011 4:53 PM

    Several owners have had it in for the 9ers since Eddie D, getting salary caps in place to contain his spending. Now they hired the total flunkie in Goodell who seems to go out of his way to catch SF in any thing. He even comments that the NFL will help the Vikings stay in Minn while doing nothing to help the 9ers with league funding on their stadium. And exactly how much did the NFL contribute to the 2 stadium project that needed the least help – NY and Dallas.

  13. bayballtim says: May 31, 2011 5:03 PM

    I’m fairly certain that the league is still pissed off at the Niners for Eddie DeBartolo winning so much and then embarrassing the league with the whole gambling debacle.

    Certainly doesn’t make sense as the team is different now in every way aside from their uniforms.

  14. downsouth49er says: May 31, 2011 5:53 PM

    Anyone have a email for this Roger Goddell character?

  15. granadafan says: May 31, 2011 7:20 PM

    Harbaugh to the NFL: “What’s YOUR deal?”.

  16. impeachgoodell says: May 31, 2011 11:27 PM

    Brain dead NFL. Cant talk about free agents? Sometimes the lack of common sense is just ….. well ……. annoying

  17. discosucs2005 says: Jun 3, 2011 4:29 AM

    Stuff like this is what makes me very confused. How could a governing body (the NFL) possibly tell a person (Harbaugh), whether he is employed by a team governed by the NFL or not, that he cannot talk about, or to a person?

    It’s not like your boss telling you not to talk to a perspective candidate on your own time (which would be ridiculous). It is like you work for on a farm, and the FDA tells you that you can’t talk to someone you might hire. Even more so, it is like the FDA tells you that while the landlord that owns the farm has prevented you from working.

    That analogy got confusing, but I hope my point got across. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the NFL can tell people who or who not to talk to at any point.

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