Jim Harbaugh talks turkey and Alex Smith gobble gobbles the Cardinals


Jim Harbaugh is on one magical, mystical tour. (Ross D. Franklin / AP)

There was a time last spring when it seemed as if San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh — a former NFL quarterback who still flings the ball around pregame as if he were the starter — might not be completely sold on quarterback Alex Smith.

The team waited a looong time to re-sign Smith and ardently seemed to court Peyton Manning, returning to Smith with flowers and a three-year contract in hand when Manning wound up in Denver.

Halfway through the season, the 49ers are 6-2 and, Monday night, Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Naturally, Harbaugh was asked about whether he now believes in Smith and, well, it got a little weird and funny. (See video of his answer at NFL.com.)

“I don’t think there was ever a question there. I think it’s just a lot of gobble, gobble turkey,” Harbaugh said. “Just gobble, gobble, gobble turkey from jive turkey gobblers. That paints a pretty good picture of it.”

It’s as if those off-games against the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks never happened, never had people whispering “Colin Kaepernick.”

Smith had an explanation for the sudden resurgence of his confidence. “It was in my closet. I found it in there. I found it.”

Follow us: @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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Matt Brooks · October 29, 2012