Super Bowl run 'a little bittersweet' for 49ers QB
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Alex Smith ran off the field at Candlestick Park two weeks ago to a standing ovation and cheers from the sellout crowd, not much different from the reception last January when he took the San Francisco 49ers oh so close to a Super Bowl.
Now relegated to a backup role with the NFC champions, Smith's trip to the Big Easy this week leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl against Baltimore is hardly how he envisioned it.
Smith expected to be under center chasing the franchise's sixth championship, not watching strong-armed second-year pro Colin Kaepernick direct the offense against the Ravens.
“I think a lot's being made of that. For one, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little bittersweet,” Smith said.
As he has done during each such trying time in an up-and-down career full of them, Smith has handled the change with class and the shared team-first attitude that is a big reason his club made it this far. And Smith, the No. 1 pick from the 2005 draft out of Utah, left no doubt that he would appreciate and relish the rare opportunity before him.
“Absolutely, yes, very much so,” Smith said of enjoying this experience despite midseason demotion.
Smith acknowledged when he lost the job to Kaepernick in November he had done nothing wrong but get hurt. Not only had he completed 26 of his previous 28 passes — 18 of 19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns without an interception and a 157.1 passer rating in a “Monday Night Football” win on Oct. 29 at Arizona — but Smith earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after that victory.
He then suffered a concussion in the second quarter of a 24-24 tie against St. Louis on Nov. 11. He sat out the next game as Kaepernick dazzled in his debut as an NFL starter.
After that, coach Jim Harbaugh stuck with the “hot hand,” as he regularly put it.
The eighth-year quarterback is already fielding questions about how it feels not being on the field for the biggest moment in a player's career.
“If you can't be happy for them, then something's wrong with you,” Smith said of his teammates.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded
- Tiny black weevils booming in W.Pa.
- Pirates can’t overcome long rain delay, Indians in interleague setback
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- America’s path to freedom reflected in region’s numerous historic sites
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Fun-seekers won’t let a Pittsburgh regatta without races get them down
- Jewish congregations dwindling, forced to mull viability of worship sites
- Gorman: Barnstorming tour bigger than baseball