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San Francisco scout team safety Michael Thomas played at Stanford under Harbaugh and has known the coach since Thomas was a 17-year-old recruit from Houston. He said he has seen Harbaugh _ whom he calls a mentor and friend _ exhaust himself for years but never imagined his health could be in jeopardy.

Thomas sent Harbaugh a text message to wish him well _ and not to hurry back until he’s healthy.

“In his mind, he’s serious, like I never get sick, I never take a day off, blah, blah, blah,” Thomas said. “To actually see something like this happen to a man who’s so passionate about his job and about this team, to see him be taken away, you wish him well but you know it’s just killing him not being here.”

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NOTES: Smith practiced in a non-contact black jersey for the second straight day. He hopes to play against the Bears, but there are still further steps for him to be medically cleared after sustaining a concussion in the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. … Rookie LaMichael James, the former Oregon running back, has a friendly wager this week with Thomas. Whoever’s former school wins Saturday’s game between top-ranked Oregon and No. 14 Stanford has to wear the other team’s gear all next week.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL