Harbaugh adds defender to MVP mix

Defensive tackle Justin Smith has helped the 49ers start 7-1. (US Presswire)

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said 3-4 defensive end Justin Smith, who has 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defensed, should be part of the NFL MVP conversation. Only two defensive players have won MVP — Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986 and Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971 — and the last defensive lineman to earn a vote was 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield in 1997.

“He’s a great player,” Harbaugh said of Smith, who has earned back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl. “He’s having a great year. He should be in the MVP category, conversation. He’s having that kind of a year for us.

“He’s got a huge heart. That guy is just a big, strong, mighty man and we had a lot of them today.”

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