Harbaugh is confident Alex Smith will return to 49ers

After the final pick of the NFL draft, the 49ers had quarterback David Carr on their roster and rookie Colin Kaepernick in their future.

But it appears safe to add another quarterback — some guy named Smith — to the mix.

In a post-draft meeting with the media, San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said he believed quarterback Alex Smith, an unrestricted free agent, would be on the roster in 2011.

“I strongly feel that Alex is going to back here next year,” Harbaugh said.

In fact, Harbaugh handed Smith a playbook during their 30- to 40-minute meeting at the team’s facility on Friday.

Smith, of course, hasn’t officially re-signed with the 49ers. According to the Sacramento Bee, the Niners offered Smith a one-year contract prior to the lockout.

But Harbaugh had enough confidence in Smith’s return to hand him a playbook.

“There’s a leap of faith there,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a leap of faith.”

Harbaugh appears to be envisioning a scenario in which Smith and Kaepernick battle for the starting spot. If so, Harbaugh said Smith would enter the competition as the favorite.

“Alex is definitely going to have the head start,” Harbaugh said. “He’s played in the National Football League. He’s won games in the National Football League. So if I’m a betting man, I’m betting on Alex Smith.”

Harbaugh was pleased Smith came to the facility Friday before the NFL lockout was reinstated. Some of their conversation centered on Smith’s family — his wife, Elizabeth, is expecting their first child any day.

“It was great to see that he stormed the gates and he was in here in the facility,” Harbaugh said. “It was good to see him.”

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