The storyline this week at Levi’s Stadium has been the return of Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) QB Alex Smith. A player that had his fair share of ups-and-downs, it will be Smith who will likely garner the majority of the hype this weekend. And while the game still needs to be played on the field, many 49ers personnel continue to praise the former No. 1 overall pick. Yesterday, we spoke with both San Francisco 49ers (2-2) head coach Jim Harbaugh and QB Colin Kaepernick and here’s what they had to say:
Harbaugh on QB Alex Smith being called a game-manager: “Not an accurate term. He’s a football player.”
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) October 1, 2014
Going back to Alex one more time, what’s your relationship with him today? Do you guys talk? How is it between you two?
“It’s very good. Anytime you do the very best you can, I know Alex did the very best he could when he played here and he did great. We felt the exact same way. And when you do your best, you look back and you feel good about what you accomplished. That’s the very nature of giving it your very best. Therefore, you can look back and feel good about the things that you accomplished. Very happy for his success. Not rooting for success for him this week, but always very happy for his success, almost all the time, for Alex Smith’s success. This week not included.”
49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick
How do you feel about facing your former teammate and mentor, Chiefs QB Alex Smith?
“Well, I really don’t get to face him, our defense does. But, Alex has done a lot of great things in this league. He’s done a lot of great things to help me. Nothing but the utmost respect for him.”
Do you still have a relationship with him? Do you still talk to in the offseason or–?
“We’ve talked here and there. Great guy, but we have our own things that we’re doing as well.”
When you took over the job and his role changed, how much grace did he show during that and it sure seemed like it from our perspective, but–?
“One of the classiest people I’ve ever been around, just an all-around great guy. I don’t think anyone could have handled it any better than he did.”
Do you think the way he handled it went a ways towards how the locker room ended up handling it, that he sort of set the tone for the way the locker room reacted to the news?
“I think he definitely made things go a lot smoother. The way he handled things didn’t turn it into a controversy in the locker room, and that just shows the character that he has not just as a player, but as a man.”
Almost from the day you came here, you stated your goal was to be the starter. Was that something that you ever addressed with Alex during that time when you were his backup for a year and a half that, ‘I want to get the point where I’m pushing you for your starting job?’
“It’s not something you talk about, but no one comes into this league and says, ‘Hey, I want to be a backup.’ Not me at least.”