79 mercury 402 40 hp stuck in neutral

(Tucson, Az. USA)

Same boat that would not shut down. I fixed with a kill switch. This a 79 bass Tracker. I was checking circuits when the engine started to smoke? It was not running. I removed the battery cables. Removed the engine cover. Could not find anything burnt?
Continued checking circuits. I then did a static shift check.This was done prior with no problem. The lever would not move out of neutral? I thought shifting was all manual? I do not know what shorted or how this could affect shifting? Nothing online has helped. Any help out there?

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