49ers Blog and Q&A

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

February 28, 2013
Ear buds: Kaepernick calls Smith "great friend, great mentor"


The last time Alex Smith was in a starter-backup controversy, he ended up being a groomsman in the wedding party of his competitor, Shaun Hill (and vice versa). So it's probably not surprising that Smith and Colin Kaepernick got along well even after Kaepernick took over the 49ers' starting quarterback gig in November.

"He's been a great friend, a great mentor," Kaepernick said on NFL Network today. "So anywhere he goes -- or if he's still with us -- he's going to be successful."

Kaepernick threw in the "if he's still with us" clause because the trade that sends Smith to Kansas City can't be made until 1 p.m. March 12 at the earliest. The 49ers have not even acknowledged an agreed-to-terms deal, although Smith's own mother spoke to the Kansas City Star about the deal and Kaepernick appeared on the NFL's own television network and was asked about the trade.

Kaepernick was busy today. He was in Chicago along with other athletes and Michelle Obama to promote the First Lady's initiative for more exercise at school. He then appeared on several media outlets to ostensibly to discuss the initiative but also was asked about the pending trade. On NFLN, he was asked what he'll miss about Smith, who became Kaepernick's backup on Nov. 25.

"I think the biggest thing with Alex is he was always in my ear, making sure I was seeing the defense," he said. "Did I see safeties do this? Did I see the rotation? Did I see things like that? Just making sure I have mental clarity when I step on the field."

-- 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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