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49ers’backup quarterback Alex Smith has taken on role as backup coach

RAVENS VS. 49ERS
5:30 P.M. Sunday, Ch. 2

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NEW ORLEANS — At first, it looked as if San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith wanted to zone everything out, donning big black headphones as the media converged on him.

But to his credit, Smith took the headphones off, stood in the same spot in the Superdome for nearly an hour during media day on Tuesday and answered question after question about becoming Colin Kaepernick’s backup.

“I’m not going to lie about any of that,” said Smith, who lost his starting job, despite a 104.1 passer rating, after suffering a concussion on Nov. 11. “[It’s been] tough at times, for sure, tough to accept, tough to watch, but we’re in the Super Bowl. This has been an amazing experience. It’s a great team. I love being a part of it.”

Praise has poured in for Smith.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said that Smith coaches Kaepernick more than he does, while teammates have continuously pointed to his leadership.

“Alex is a class guy,” tight end Vernon Davis said.

“He would never want a distraction to separate this team,” guard Alex Boone said.

“[Smith] has taken this and handled it super well and amazing,” tackle Joe Staley said.

It was reported that Smith would ask to be released after Super Bowl XLVII, but he dismissed it.

“I don’t know where this stuff comes from,” said Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005. “That stuff can wait. There is plenty of time for that in a week.”

All Smith wants to focus on is getting Kaepernick ready and being ready himself should he be called on to play.

“He has done everything he can to help me and help this team,” Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick’s meteoric rise is one of the Super Bowl’s biggest
story lines. But Smith’s contributions shouldn’t be ignored, his teammates say.

“What’s been unique to me and what I think has been cool is that the dynamic of the [quarterbacks] room hasn’t changed going back to Week 1 and going back to Week 11 when there was this ‘controversy’ going on,” said third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien, who went to Fremd and Wisconsin.

“[Smith] wants to be the starter. He’s voiced that. I think people appreciate that. … He’s competitive like all of us, but at the same time, it doesn’t change how he prepares and how he helps his teammates out.

“He’s been an extra set of eyes. I feel like we have an advantage. It’s like having another coach in our meeting room, on the practice field and on game day. He’s a really, really good football mind. He’s a real asset.”



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