The NFL has told Jim Harbaugh not to talk about his love affair with Alex Smith. But the new 49ers head coach just can't help himself.
When asked about Smith, a San Diego product, Harbaugh couldn't help himself from gushing.
"He's a neat guy," Harbaugh said. "I'm really interested in him, in just the character of Alex Smith. He's been maligned by the hometown fans there. And his family's had to read a lot of that on the Internet.
"And he's really even been thrown under the bus by his own team more than once. And the kind of character of a guy that would want to come back, prove himself with that same football team, that's rare kind of character. (It) probably falls somewhere in the endangered and extinct range. So we can win with that."
He also was positive about the group of players he has inherited.
"We have a good team," he said. "A good group of character guys."
The problem is Harbaugh has not been able to spend a lot of time with his new players yet. But he said he thinks that will end soon.
"I choose to be optimistic," he said. "And I really think early July there's a chance a deal is done (between the NFL and its players). That's kind of what I'm planning for.
Harbaugh said he believes if a deal gets done by early July, he can get his team to training camp as scheduled by July 28 and not miss any preseason action.
You can watch the full interview on MLB's website.