After the 2012 season ended, the 49ers made it clear to Alex Smith that they were not going to release him. Smith, in turn, made it clear to the team that he didn't want to be a backup quarterback. The only option left was a trade, and Smith today said he had no doubt where he wanted to go.
"It wasn't close," Smith said at his introductory press conference in Kansas City. "Everything pointed here for me, and I was excited about that, and I'm so thankful it worked out, thankful it got done."
New Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he followed Smith since the quarterback was at Utah under Reid's good friend Kyle Whittingham, who was then the team's defensive coordinator.
"When I was at Philadelphia, for whatever reason we seemed to play (the 49ers) every year, and I got to see him first hand," Reid said. "He was somebody if I had the chance, I would want on my team. So I did inquire about him periodically with the 49ers."
Smith will wear No. 11 for the Chiefs, and he'll run a West Coast offense like he did the last two years in San Francisco. Smith said he only arrived last night and has not had time to look at the playbook or to talk to new teammates, such as receiver Dwayne Bowe. He acknowledged that it was awkward to have known about the deal for two weeks and not been able to communicate with his new team. But he said quarterback buddies around the league all assured him he would love working with Reid.
"From all the quarterbacks I've ever known and have gotten to play for him, they only had good things to say," Smith said. "His pedigree, I think, speaks for itself."
Reid, meanwhile, made clear that Smith's intangibles were just as important as his on-field ability when it came to making the decision to trade with the 49ers.
"You'll find out in time what you've got here," Reid said. "From a coaching standpoint, what a tremendous addition to a locker room. He's a fine football player, but even a better person. That's welcome here - his leadership."
Reid even took it a step further.
While acknowledging former Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson at the press conference, he said he wanted to give the Chiefs another hall-of-fame passer. "We're going to work on getting Alex into the Hall of Fame," Reid said. "I'm privileged to be in a room with two great ones."
-- Matt Barrows