The 49ers announced Wednesday morning that Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback in Sunday’s game in St. Louis against the Rams. Since there’s nothing, really, for head coach Jim Harbaugh to explain … no mind-bending explanation about how starter Alex Smith won’t be starting has yet been given.

Really, though, it would be great to hear Harbaugh follow up Monday’s media conference explanation where he called Smith the “starter,” adding that Kaepernick’s not the “backup” because he, too, has started games. It’d be really, really interesting for Harbaugh to explain his actual feelings given that he followed Jim McMahon at quarterback for the Chicago Bears in 1987 … a ballyhooed college quarterback at Michigan, Harbaugh never measured up. He was bounced to Indianapolis where he led the Colts to the playoffs without gawdy statistics or any of the glitz and glamour expected of him when he came out of Michigan.

While I don’t care about Harbaugh as a man, I think it’d be revelatory to hear from a coach who had to choose between Kaepernick and Smith after being in both guys’ positions as a player himself. There’s a human element in this story that, while it has no connection to winning and losing, is an intriguing look at sports as a harsh business.

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  1. Matt Witthaus

    He’s probably saving that for Alex, and the day he tells him he won’t be the starter for the rest of the season.

    November 28th, 2012 2:36 pm

  2. Chuck

    Ted – Jim Harbaugh’s job right now is not think back to when he was a player having been in Smith’s and Kaep’s positions, but to make the best decision as a coach for his team to win … and advance to and through the playoffs and to Super Bowl XLVII. Or as my best friend says to his sons, “My job is not to be your best friend; it’s to be your dad.” You’re right … there is a human element to this story. And we shouldn’t ignore or dismiss it. Maybe when he’s done with coaching (or at least coaching the 49ers) Harbaugh can write a book and let us know what was going on in his head (and heart) about having to choose between Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as his starting quarterback.

    November 30th, 2012 6:38 am

  3. overtime

    Chuck…Interesting thoughts. Here’s another…do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. You’re working. You’re doing a good job…an above average job where you’re ranked among the best at your job. Your boss comes in one day and says, “I think this guy might do your job better than you.” Your boss takes your job.

    Would you find that fair treatment that you’d accept calmly and rationally in your workplace? That’s a lot what happened to Alex Smith.

    I write and edit. You do your job for a living. Alex Smith plays quarterback for a living. I’m not judging the change at quarterback … I’m just wondering … how would you and I feel if this happened to us at work or to our best friend? Why is it different for a guy who plays football for a living? We all lust for job security, right?

    November 30th, 2012 1:20 pm

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