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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 30, 2012
Smith in lockstep with head coach on Manning saga

Alex upset.jpg

When Alex Smith was summoned into the media trailer after today's practice, he probably thought it had something to do with his Cam Newton comments from last week, which have been bandied about from east coast to west coast for a week.

Instead, Smith was asked about the 49ers' pursuit - or non-pursuit/evaluation/flirtation/tire kicking - of Peyton Manning from two and a half months ago. Smith followed his coach's lead by saying that he was informed throughout the process and that he would have competed with Manning had Manning chosen to play in San Francisco and had the 49ers -- cough, cough -- decided the four-time NFL MVP was worth signing. Here's the transcript:

Q: Harbaugh says there's no scenario, from the team point of view, in which you wouldn't have been a 49er. Was there a scenario in your mind?
AS: From the beginning, like I said, that was the scenario. They had been up front with me. Coach Harbaugh, from the day I've been here, has been completely honest. And both he and Trent (Baalke), from the beginning, from all of this, yeah. I mean, a month prior to any of the Peyton Manning stuff, they had been negotiating with me to come back and new contract. And when that (Manning) arised, they were honest, came over and talked to me. Potentially (I would) compete for the job. This is exactly what he told Peyton. For me, that was always there.

Q: But would you have wanted to compete with Peyton?
AS: I certainly felt like this was my job to compete for. No question. I felt like what we accomplished last year, that I deserved that.

Q: So why make a free-agent visit to Miami?
AS: I think that was more of the, uh ... I mean, that's what free agency is. It was my first time through it. A little bit of it, how you play that business side. Obviously that's not something I'm comfortable with and did a lot. But, yeah, that's a part of it. Yeah, you go around and you see the teams and you weigh your options. You don't know what those options are until you go look at them sometimes, so. But for me, this was always the place. I've always said that. This was always the place. Then things happen, and you do play that game a little bit.

Q: Are you surprised we're still talking about this?
AS: A little bit. Yeah. A little surprised.

Q: Did you know that (Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman) were going to Duke to watch Manning?
AS: I knew they were going to look at him, yeah. Through that whole process, I knew they were going to go see him and check him out and do their due diligence, whatever you want to call it.

Q: Reaction to the Cam Newton controversy.
AS: Um, you know if there's a good thing from all the drama that kinda came of it: Hopefully people didn't catch on to the fact that we let out a team secret. That around here, we don't really care about individual stats. And if I can say anything, that's the one good thing - hopefully it kinda covered that up."

In non-Alex Smith news, several 49ers were back at practice today, including Anthony Davis, Michael Crabtree and Donte Whitner.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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