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Alex Smith open to competition with Colin Kaepernick

Jim Harbaugh is perfectly content to keep the media guessing about who will start at quarterback Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

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The San Francisco 49ers coach told reporters that both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick can win games -- a very desirable problem, according to Harbaugh, for the coaching staff.

"We'll let it play out," Harbaugh said. "I wouldn't expect an announcement today or any timeline on that. We'll get that to you."

Smith's concussion shouldn't be an issue this weekend. He's been cleared for limited practice and was seen Wednesday donning the same black non-contact jersey he wore all of last week. Smith told Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee he pushed it too hard last week, but Harbaugh expects Smith to be cleared for New Orleans.

"I feel good," Smith said. "I feel really good. So I'm kind of expecting things to go well."

Smith said he accepts competition -- not controversy -- with Kaepernick following the youngster's heroics against the Chicago Bears on Monday night. Kaepernick's play set off a lively quarterback debate, but Harbaugh echoed his words from earlier Wednesday to shoot down the notion that some sort of controversy surrounds the 7-2-1 49ers.

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"I know everybody took the opportunity after the big win the other night to talk non-stop about the quarterback situation and very little about the great victory, both offensively and defensively, special teams," Harbaugh said, per Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "... Most of the people who really want to know and really care, don't really care whether we win or lose, to be honest with you. I don't know know if it's in our best interest to make a snap decision on that. We'll get all the factors weighed out and we'll come to the best decision for our team."

Did we mention this bee's nest also leaves the Saints sitting around, guessing who to prepare for?

Harbaugh: Always thinking.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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