Alex Smith will be one of several NFL quarterbacks competing in the American Century Championship golf event in Tahoe later this month. And before you ask the question, the answer's no - Jim Harbaugh will not serve as his caddy.
Smith, of course, caddied for his coach when Harbaugh played at the AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach in February. That scenario only reinforced the notion that re-signing Smith, who at the time was scheduled for free agency, was a mere formality for Harbaugh and the 49ers.
It turned out to be anything but. The 49ers and Smith were slow to agree to a contract deal. And before they did, the 49ers pursued Peyton Manning, who eventually chose to sign with the Broncos. Smith today reiterated that there were no hard feelings between him and Harbaugh. But he did allow that the episode was "a little awkward" for a week or so and will serve as motivation.
"Certainly there are a lot of forms of motivation," said Smith, who eventually signed a three-year deal with the 49ers. "I guess that's there a little bit as far as motivation." Smith said he didn't ask Harbaugh, who is back from a recent home-building mission in Peru, to caddy for him. Harbaugh and his staff will be preparing for training camp at the time.
During the golf tournament, Smith will be reunited with college coach Urban Meyer, who takes over at Ohio State this year. Asked about the similarities between Meyer and Harbaugh, Smith cited the intensity of practices at Utah and with the 49ers as well as the coaches' selflessness.
"The team-first mentality is constantly being preached," Smith said. "And in both circumstances, I feel that everybody really bought in." Here's a Q&A I did with Meyer back in October.
The July 17-22 golf tournament will be televised live nationally (NBC) on the final two days of the event. Smith will have plenty of company among NFL quarterbacks. Carson Palmer, Tony Romo and his Week 1 rival, Aaron Rodgers, also will take part.
The 49ers open minicamp later that week on the 26th. Smith and the other quarterbacks, however, are expected to join the rookies earlier in the week.
-- Matt Barrows