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NFL sends 49ers memo about Alex Smith talk

Jim Harbaugh

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh smiles during the 49ers’ local pro day at the NFL football team’s training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, April 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

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.