Jim Harbaugh said what so many people were hoping he would say

Friday night, interviewed before the Governor’s Dinner in Carson City, Nevada, the 49ers head coach said rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a legitimate chance to start for the 49ers this season, so reported the Nevada Appeal newspaper of Carson City.

Harbaugh made it very clear the starting quaterback would earn the job based on productivity and nothing else.

“The best guy will play,” Harbaugh said. “The guy who practices the best, who plays the best, will play. There won’t be any games. There won’t be any politics. We’re going to throw the ball out there and let those guys have it.”

Kaepernick is the second-round draft choice who last season led Nevada to a 13-1 record and a No. 11 final ranking.

“All I want him (Kaepernick) to do,” Harbaugh said, “is to come in and compete and get better each and every day. He’s got the talent and the ability to be a starter in this league.”

Kaepernick also attended the dinner and said, while tempted to call Harbaugh during the lockout, he refrained. Instead, he went to Smith repeatedly for help and was not turned away.

“He’s (Smith) answered all my questions,” Kaepernick said.

Say what you will about Smith, it’s a very mature, professional approach he’s taken with Kaepernick. A lot of quarterbacks with their job on the line wouldn’t give their challenger two seconds of their time. But at the two players-only camps organized by Smith at San Jose State, Smith gave Kaepernick any help he needed or requested.

That’s a big-time tip of the cap toward Smith. A class move all the way.

Here’s hoping Harbaugh keeps his word about the quarterback battle and leaves politics out of it. Harbaugh will go a long way in defining himself by how he treats the Smith-Kaepernick situation.

And if he hasn’t felt the heavy weight of politics on his shoulders yet, Harbaugh will. He’s head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Politics is part of the job description.

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