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Around the NFC West: Odds on Alex Smith

3/17/2011

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee addresses during a chat whether 49ers quarterback Alex Smith would rather be a backup in San Diego or have a shot at starting for San Francisco. Barrows: "At the end of the season, I would have said, yes. but Jim Harbaugh has been whispering sweet nothings in Smith's ear for the past two months. That might make Smith more apt to return, and just as important, might make the fans more receptive toward Smith. That is, if Jim Harbaugh, who after all is a quarterback guru and who is on a honeymoon period, likes Smith as the quarterback, shouldn't we (I'm putting myself in the position of the fans) listen to what he says. I also think that Smith might want to be a starter for one more season in SF than a backup to Rivers for the next eight seasons ... We shall see. Thanks for tuning in." In general, the longer the lockout continues, the more it makes sense for players to return to their 2010 teams. That might not apply to Smith and the Chargers because San Diego wouldn't need to get Smith ready for regular-season snaps. But if Smith wants a fresh start, he can get one, to a degree, without leaving the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh's presence has to make that possibility intriguing.

Also from Barrows: a look at outside linebackers the 49ers could consider in the second round.

Kevin Lynch of Niner Insider says Ryan Mallett's lack of mobility could make him a bad fit for the 49ers.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com checks in with retired pass-rusher Jacob Green, whose BBQ offerings have helped raise more than $420,000 at auction for cancer research over the past five years. Farnsworth: "The former Pro Bowl defense end and member of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor stole the show -- or auction -- at an event Saturday night to benefit the Puget Sound affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. Two attendees bid $45,000 each to have Green work his grill magic, and spin a few tales of the Seahawks’ early days, for parties of 20."

Also from Farnsworth: Five members of the 35th anniversary Seahawks team were undrafted. Six spent their full careers with Seattle.

More from Farnsworth: Mack Strong edged John L. Williams for a spot on the anniversary team. Strong: "I had tremendous respect for John L. -- how he played the game and what he meant to this organization. When I came out to Seattle, I’d only heard of three people on that team -- Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and John L. Williams. So, just being able to play with him was a huge honor and I feel like I learned a lot about how to be a pro just from watching him. So to be in the category with him is a real high honor for me."

Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Randy Moss casually listed Seattle among the teams he would consider joining for the 2011 season. It wasn't clear if he mentioned Seattle for any reason, however.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers thoughts from Ollie Matson's niece regarding the letter Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill sent to Matson's family for use at the Hall of Famer's memorial ceremony. Said the niece: "It was amazing how blown away everyone was to receive this letter. It was so personal."

Channel 5 in Phoenix says the couple that won a free home as part of a University of Phoenix Stadium promotion is moving into their new digs. The promotion hinged on the Cardinals returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown during a home game. It happened in the home opener against Oakland last season when LaRod Stephens-Howling broke a 102-yarder.

Ray Brewer of the Las Vegas Sun says Rams running back Steven Jackson will be enshrined in the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame for his efforts at Eldorado High School. The story includes a photo showing a much skinnier Jackson carrying the ball in a high school game. Brewer: "Jackson rushed for 6,396 yards and 81 touchdowns during his high school career at Eldorado, leading the Sundevils to the Sunrise Regional crown in 2000 and a state runner-up finish. He went on to spend three years at Oregon State, rushing for 3.625 yards and 39 touchdowns in 36 games, while adding six rushing touchdowns and seven on returns. His 4,545 all-purpose yards are second-best in Oregon State history. He capped his career with a five-touchdown performance in the Las Vegas Bowl, then announced he was turning professional in the media interview room at Sam Boyd Stadium."

The Columbus Republic says former Rams receiver Marques Hagans has taken a job as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia, where he played from 2002-2005.