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Harbaugh Bowl: San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Alex Smith Had No Choice But To Play Good Soldier

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith had become one of the best stories in the NFL for a year and half. He was finally playing the way every San Francisco 49ers fan thought he would when he was drafted with the first pick in the 2005 NFL draft. His quarterback rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio was among the highest in the league, not to mention he had gotten the slumping 49ers to the NFC Championship game last season.

Then it all came crashing down on November 11, 2012 against the St. Louis Rams. He was forced to leave that game with a concussion and was been replaced by Colin Kaepernick for good. In that time, however, Smith has been nothing but a good soldier and a great teammate to Kaepernick. Publicly he’s made it known he believes he should still be the starter but he’s also given praise and support to Kaepernick  throughout the year. Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke yesterday about how Smith has helped his young quarterback through the end of the season.

“Another person really to credit in Colin’s success because Alex has really helped coach Colin and has been right there by his side. Sitting there in meetings every single day. He coaches Colin now more than I do, and that speaks high of the kind of person and teammate that Alex Smith is.”

Smith should certainly be congratulated for the approach he’s taken to becoming a backup quarterback because there are plenty of other players who have been in the same position but haven’t handled it nearly as well but what other choice did he have? Smith can still play in the NFL and the only way to go about getting a starting job in the league is to show you’re a good teammate. He’s making the best of a bad situation in the hopes that another team will trade for him this off-season so he can get another chance to play. Maybe he doesn’t get that opportunity if he sulks or complains about being benched.

So while we applaud the attitude from Smith but just know as a competitor, there is still no way that Smith is happy with what happened to him this year. He’s biting his tongue and saying all the right things in order to get another opportunity, just like Drew Bledsoe did in the same situation with Tom Brady. Bledsoe made the most of a bad situation by continuing to say he felt he should be playing but still backed the play of Brady. Alex Smith is hoping to get another chance somewhere else, the same way Bledsoe got a second chance with the Buffalo Bills.

It’s been a tough season for Alex Smith, but one that could end as a Super Bowl champion. If the 49ers win, he deserves to be mentioned as a big part of it. Then, he can go find a new team that appreciate his talents.

you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi