It's not often that someone gets demoted after performing better than they ever have at their job, but that is the struggle Alex Smith had to deal with this year. After suffering a concussion in the ninth game of the season, Smith was replaced by Colin Kaepernick and never got the chance to reclaim his starting position. Smith handled the situation with class, but admitted on Tuesday that it has not been easy to deal with.
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"I really felt like I was playing my best football right before the injury. So it's been tough. But you deal with it and move on. ... This is a team game," Smith said during the San Francisco 49ers Media Day session. Smith, who led the 49ers to a 6-2 record and led the league in completion percentage before his injury, was forced to wander the field without a podium on Tuesday. When asked about not getting a podium, Smith said, "I didn't get a choice. Was there a choice?"
As expected, most of Smith's questions had to deal with his demotion, his reaction, and his plans for the future. Smith didn't want any praise for his reaction to being demoted, saying, "I wouldn't expect anything less from any of my teammates."
Despite the support he has given Kaepernick and the 49ers, it is expected that Smith will be headed out of San Francisco this offseason. Smith said he didn't know where the report that he would ask for his release after the Super Bowl came from, but he didn't deny it either. What he was sure of was that he is ready to be a starting quarterback again when given the chance, saying, "when I get my next opportunity I will make most of it."