Team officials aren't allowed to contact players during the lockout, but the NFL granted new San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh special permission to personally congratulate his quarterback on the birth of his first child.
Harbaugh visited Alex Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, in the hospital last week after she gave birth to a son, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reported Wednesday, citing an unidentified source. The 49ers confirmed the visit, according to the television station.
A 49ers spokesman said the team asked the NFL for approval to visit the new mother, and the league said yes because it was purely a social visit. Harbaugh brought flowers for Elizabeth Smith, and others from the organization also have passed their congratulations to the new parents.
Harbaugh on Tuesday said Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, was in his plans for next season despite not being under contract.
"It's well documented, on record, that we very much want Alex Smith to be a 49er next year," Harbaugh said in an interview with NFL Network's Fran Charles. "He really is a 49er in my mind, and hopefully in his mind he is a 49er. We look forward to him competing for that starting quarterback position next year."
Smith's contract expired after the 2010 season, but he recently told CSN Bay Area that he'd like to return to San Francisco.