Tuesday was media day for the San Francisco 49ers, and they had thousands of reports and journalists clamoring for answered questions and game day preparation notes. In the midst of all that hoopla stood a very stoic number 11 to take on the media onslaught. Back up quarterback Alex Smith was mauled by reporters when he entered the dome. And all who approached him had an agenda of getting an intimate statement of his feelings toward the team, his role on it, and the Super Bowl. It was a fitting unintentional gesture that the reporters paid to Smith, who after leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship game last year and recording a win loss record in his time at the helm of 19-5 under coach Jim Harbaugh. Only to be benched after suffering a concussion halfway through the regular season this year.
But if the reporters that surrounded Smith on Tuesday were looking for him to vent any frustration and show any kind of animosity toward the organization and how the circumstances played out, they were sorely mistaken. Smith approached each and every question with the utmost dignity and poise, even when the questions became repetitive. For those expecting him to create a little controversy, Smith was strikingly honest without being vengeful toward the team.
"I’m not going to lie about any of that. It’s been tough at times, tough to accept, tough to watch, but we’re in the Super Bowl. And this has been an amazing experience. It’s a great team. I love being part of it. I have said before, it’s bittersweet a little bit, but still, it’s been a great thing to be a part of."
On questions related to him seeking a release from the 49ers at season’s end, Smith vehemently denies making any such request. Though he did make it clear that he would like to be a starter again. And with reports coming in that there are already a handful of teams that would like to add his talents to their perspective clubs, it is in all likelihood that Sunday will be the last night Alex Smith wears a San Francisco 49ers jersey.
He has proven himself a very capable leader on the field, and Tuesday he proved himself to be one of the classiest and most respectful players off the field. His time in San Francisco will be missed, he provided the city with a smile again, and put them back on the map when it comes to winning franchises. The 49ers only hope for Smith now is that he doesn’t end up in the NFC west again, say for the Cardinals. It would be a tragedy to have to play him in the same division.
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