Jim Harbaugh's love affair with Alex Smith will have to come to an end. At least for the time being.
The NFL has told the San Francisco 49ers to stop talking about free agent quarterback Alex Smith and his all but official return to the team next season.
Teams and their coaches are prohibited from having any contact with their players and they cannot talk about free agents while the NFL lockout of its players continues.
But Harbaugh has been speaking glowingly of Smith and his desire to retain the former No. 1 pick next season.
The league already reportedly intervened and disciplined Harbaugh for playing toss with Smith before the lockout started.
Most recently, NFL officials gave Harbaugh special permission to visit Smith and his wife in a Bay Area hospital, as the young couple welcomed their first baby into the world.
But all of that will have to stop until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
“The league has mandated we do not talk about [Smith],” Harbaugh told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat's Eric Branch last week. “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.”
And in case there was any confusion, the 49ers confirmed that there would be no more mention of Alex Smith escaping their lips until a new CBA is ratified.