NEW ORLEANS Jed York spoke for 40 minutes at the 49ers' team hotel Thursday morning, covering topics that ranged from Chris Culliver's controversial remarks about gays in the locker room to hosting a Super Bowl in Santa Clara to Alex Smith's future with the team.
The 49ers' CEO also spoke about the pivotal decision to change starting quarterbacks his coach, Jim Harbaugh, made in November.
York said he might visit Harbaugh in his office every few weeks or so. He did so before the game against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 25.
" Just to see how he's doing and to see if he needs anything," York said. "And I said, 'What's your gut on this week? What are you thinking?'
"And he said, 'My gut's Kap.' And I said, 'OK. I can argue it either way at this point of the season. I understand what you're doing and I support you.'
"I said, 'Is there anything you need from me?' And he's like, 'Nope. Let's go see how he plays.' "
York said one of his uncle Eddie DeBartolo Jr.'s best pieces of advice was to stay out of the way and let the football experts handle that part of the franchise. He said Harbaugh didn't ask his opinion on the matter.
"And I wouldn't have said one way or the other," York said. "He's our head coach, he's going to make those decisions. And, obviously, it was a controversial decision at the time. But that's what leaders have to do. You have to make decisions that don't always make sense to everyone else in the moment, because they're looking three or four chess moves down the road."
York also said he met with Culliver, who he said was contrite, and who stressed to York that he was not prejudicial against any groups.
"All I said was, 'It's up to you to live up to your apology,' " York said. " He made a very bold statement that he wants to get to know the LGBT community. And I said, 'It's up to you. You can either live up to that, and if you don't, people are going to vilify you and probably rightfully so.'
"And I don't think that's what Chris is going to do. I think he's going to step up and be a man about it."
Nifty 50? As far as hosting a Super Bowl, the 49ers are in the running for Super Bowl L, which will be played in February 2016, or the 2017 game, Super Bowl LI.
The NFL will decide on both in the spring. York said San Francisco would be the focal point of the event but that other Northern California cities would play a role. He said that the Great America theme park, which is next door to the new stadium, could be opened in its offseason for the event.
Adios, Alex? York insisted the 49ers would have the salary-cap space to afford Alex Smith at backup quarterback next season, and he said there would be a need for him, too.
"It's pretty nice to have two quarterbacks that you feel you can win with," York said. "Is there going to be a demand for a quarterback that's played as well as he has the last couple of years? Yeah. Does he want to go start and play? So there are a lot of things that go into it. And we'll sit down after the Super Bowl and figure out what's best for everybody and how to move forward."
Et cetera Practices for the 49ers and Ravens at the New Orleans Saints' facility overlapped by 10 minutes. Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't want to practice again at Tulane's facility, so he asked to move to Metairie. His brother had no problem with the arrangement. "Just cooperating spirits," Jim Harbaugh said.
During the field-goal-kicking portion of practice, the 49ers players yelled and otherwise tried to distract David Akers. He made all of his kicks.
There was only one change to the 49ers injury report. Safety Dashon Goldson was added with a foot injury but went through a full practice. Linebackers Aldon Smith (shoulder) and Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) were limited.