Smith’s toughness ‘struck a chord’ with Harbaugh

This and that from Aldon Smith’s conference call and Jim Harbaugh’s press conference:

• Smith’s desire to get back on the field after breaking his leg last year might have gotten him into the draft’s top 10. Smith suffered a broken right fibula in Missouri’s third game against San Diego State last year and returned after missing just three games.

“That struck a chord with me,” Harbaugh said. “Usually bones take four to six weeks to heal. And you could tell he was playing on it, limping at times. There’s a toughness aspect there, both mentally and physically, that I was impressed with. Strong. Tough. Guy that shows that he loves football.”

Smith said the bone was still broken when he returned.

“It was tough playing with it,” he said. “I love my teammates. I love the game and nothing was going to stop me from playing. If I could go out there and I could walk a little bit, I would be able to play on it.”

What did that say about him?

“I think I let people know I had a heart,” Smith said. “I love the game and I’m not a wimp. I’m a tough guy.”

• Smith visited the Niners prior to the draft, but conceded he was shocked when Harbaugh called him this evening: “After I left that visit I definitely didn’t know that I was going to be picked at number seven or that they really had that much interest.”

• Was Harbaugh tempted to grab Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert at No. 7? Harbaugh wasn’t going there, saying it was “irrelevant” to talk about other players.

“We got the guy that we thought was the best available player,” Harbaugh said. “The best fit. The kind of guy we want to be a 49er.”

• At various times, Harbaugh’s touched on the 6-foot-4, 263-pound Smith’s size (he loves his 83 7/8-inch wing span), toughness and athleticism.

“He’s very rarely on the ground,” Harbaugh said. “Unless he’s going into make a tackle, very rarely does he go to the ground. He’s got an uncanny ability with his balance to put a hand down and be able to get back up and redirect without going to the ground. Tremendous balance. Tremendous hustle that he has … And not afraid to go into a pile of bodies headfirst to make the tackle. A lot of things that show up that are character-toughness things that you see on film.”

• Harbaugh said the Niners coaches have talked to various players today to let them know the facility will be open for business Friday. Harbaugh contacted Alex Smith today and said the free-agent quarterback will one of the players in attendance.

“It’s a big relief to know that we are going to be around some of our guys,” Harbaugh said. “Some of the 49ers. To get some people in this bulding. To get some football going.”

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