Alex Smith did the right thing in self-reporting concussion symptoms earlier this season, Commisioner Roger Goodell said, and he said he hopes other players would do the same thing in a similar situation.
"I understand somewhat the dilemma, but the highest priority you can is for players to raise their hand when they're injured so they can get the proper treatment," Goodell said Friday during his annual Super Bowl press conference.
The dilemma, of course, is that Smith set in motion a series of events that ultimately cost him his starting job. Colin Kaepernick started the next game against Chicago and played so well that Jim Harbaugh decided to pick Kaepernick over a healthy Alex Smith the following week in New Orleans.
Goodell noted that once Smith's concussion symptoms went away, it became a football decision and not a medical issue. "The coaches made a decision to go in another direction," he said. "And that's something the coaches have to do."
Smith has said he has no regrets about telling team doctors about his concussion symptoms. They had gone away two days after the Nov. 11 hit that caused the initial concussion but reappeared one day before the Bears game Nov. 19.
- Matt Barrows