49ers Blog and Q&A

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

November 29, 2012
Alex Smith: A tough pill to swallow, for sure


Alex Smith said today the only thing he did to lose his starting job was get a concussion.

"You state your case with your play. I feel like I've done that," said Smith, who was in the midst of his best season and who actually threw a touchdown pass on his most recent play.

Smith said he was disappointed in the decision Jim Harbaugh made this week, especially considering his success - and the team's success - this season. "This is such a great team, such a great group of guys, something special going on," Smith said. "A tough pill to swallow, for sure."

Smith hit upon that theme - that he no longer is front and center in what could end up as amazing season - later in the approximately five-minute interview.

"It stings the most because I really feel like there's something special going on here," he said. "You sacrifice and you invest so much time. Like I said, I really feel like I hadn't done anything but get a concussion to really to facilitate this. I feel like I was playing good football."

Smith, however, did not lash out at Harbaugh or Colin Kaepernick, who will be making his third straight start on Sunday. "No resentment," he said of Harbaugh. "No, I don't get to make those decisions. That's what he gets paid to do. He's the head coach. I play football. That's what I'm going to continue to do, continue to get ready. And then make the most of my next opportunity."

Smith said he and Harbaugh had a discussion about the move.

"We sat down in there and talked," he said. "It wasn't just a one-sentence thing. For sure. He explained where he was coming from and felt like it was a difficult situation but he wanted to go in this direction."

Smith suffered his concussion Nov. 11 and experienced blurred vision, headaches and nausea that night. Those symptoms, however, disappeared early in the week and the 49ers based their game plan for the upcoming game against Chicago on Smith being available.

The symptoms reappeared the Sunday before the game, however. Smith informed doctors, he was held out of the game and Kaepernick made his first start. Kaepernick shined in that outing, and it doesn't appear as if Smith will get his starting job back unless Kaepernick falters or has his own injury.

Does Smith regret informing the team of his symptoms when they reappared?

"No, I'm not looking back on that, no," he said. "... Ultimately the doctors and me had to make that decision. And I think it's a good thing (there's) more and more coming out about (concussions). I don't think it's a bad thing."

- Matt Barrows

Related photo gallery: 49ers starting quarterbacks since Joe Montana's days


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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