SAN FRANCISCO — Last spring during the NFL lockout, Jim Harbaugh handed over his playbook in good faith to Alex Smith as a commitment that the 49ers planned to sign him back.
Harbaugh turned Smith into a steady winner at last, a playmaker and playoff star.
Smith still looks to be San Francisco's man behind center, even after his coach and team flirted with Peyton Manning.
Smith had been weighing a three-year offer from the Niners early last week when Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman traveled to Duke to work out Manning. For Smith, there might be some hard feelings — but maybe not. This guy has seen it all during his seven-year NFL career after the 49ers selected him with the No. 1 overall pick out of Utah in 2005.