49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 15, 2013
Alex Smith: No beef with Mike Nolan


Alex Smith says he has no resentment toward the coach that drafted him, Mike Nolan.

Nolan, of course, is now running the Falcons' defense, and he's a candidate for some of the head-coaching openings around the NFL. And if Smith were still the 49ers' starting quarterback, their relationship would be the biggest story of the week.

If you're not familiar, their history goes something like this:

* In 2005, Nolan and then personnel chief Scot McCloughan made Smith the No. 1 player in the draft.

* Four games into the 2007 season, Seattle defensive tackle Rocky Bernard burst through the 49ers offensive line and buried Smith into the Candlestick Park grass, leaving Smith with a Grade 3 shoulder separation.

* Smith tried to play later that season, but the shoulder - which would go on to require two surgeries - did not respond and Smith played terribly.

* Nolan said Smith's arm is fine but questioned his confidence; Smith said he felt undermined in the locker room. The 49ers went 5-11 that season.

Smith today noted that the two spent most of the 2008 season together - Smith missed it because of his second shoulder surgery - and that the relationship mended at that point.

"I think the thing when we had that little - I don't know what you want to call it - the difference is I was still young, I was in my third year," Smith said. "But we had that whole next year where I feel I really grew up a lot, I learned a lot from that entire situation."

"We got along really well after that. I think we both kind of .. I know I saw my fault in it," Smith continued. "But I think we definitely moved on. No hard feelings from me at this point as well. I for sure look back at that as, what could I have done differently as a young player in this league. I sure didn't know that stuff then, but you learn from it. But, yeah, no resentment at all."

- 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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