Walt Harris eager to return from injury

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Walt Harris says he feels good and wants to return for another NFL season, although the veteran cornerback isn't sure if the 49ers will ask him to return.

Harris suffered a torn ACL in May and underwent surgery in June, missing the 2009 season. I spoke with him Thursday afternoon at the NFLPA's annual Super Bowl news conference. Harris is part of a group of current and former players working with the NFLPA as the union tried to educate players on labor issues heading as a potential lockout looms.

Harris said it was tough watching games last season. The 49ers' defeat at Minnesota was particularly painful for him. Harris said he thought that defeat had a draining effect on the team and that beating the Vikings might have been pivotal.

Without prompting, Harris said he thought Alex Smith made strides last season, both in production and becoming more comfortable. He's hopeful Smith can continue to progress because it's so tough to win without strong play from that position.

The 49ers will probably look to get younger in their secondary, both at corner and safety.