Alex Smtih Welcome to Return to 49ers: Trent Baalke

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Trent Baalke says he would welcome Alex Smith back to the 49ers next season if the free agent quarterback wanted to return.

    The San Francisco 49ers would welcome back quarterback Alex Smith and say it's up to the 2005 first overall pick to decide if he wants to return.

    General manager Trent Baalke said Wednesday that the 49ers have extended an "olive branch" to Smith to return to the only NFL team he's ever known. All that came before the NFL locked out the players in the ongoing labor dispute.

    Smith can't sign with San Francisco -- or any other team -- until the labor situation is settled and free agency begins. Smith was demoted and promoted several times last season and has had a different offensive coordinator every year.

    The 49ers have the No. 7 pick in next week's NFL draft and could take a quarterback.