By TED SILLANPAA
It’s not news to hear that Alex Smith doesn’t want to be with the 49ers next season. That hasn’t stopped sports talkers and sports writers from turning the report circulated Monday that the quarterback wants to be released from his contract after the Super Bowl into some sort of revelation worthy of much discussion.
Smith has been a good teammate since getting hurt and losing his starting job. He’s a good guy, clearly. He’d played well enough this season to be a starter, even if it means he leaves the 49ers to get a starting job. Everybody knew that. And, anybody who thought ahead anticipated that Smith would want out of his contract.
It’s to Smith’s advantage to have it reported on the first Monday of Super Bowl week that he’ll ask for his release. Now, the whole world knows that the 49ers will be keeping him around as a backup quarterback against his will if they opt to make him serve out the final year of his deal in San Francisco. By getting the request for his release in Monday spotlight … the whole world will be watching to see now if the 49ers will force Smith to stand in reserve behind Colin Kaepernick next season after taking Smith’s starting job from him when an injury forced him from the lineup.
At some point, the 49ers organization will be faced with rewarding Smith for being a good soldider by trading him to a team that needs him or releasing him to find his own new club. Or, the 49ers can be a little bit like what fans think the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are like and just treat Smith like a cog in the corporate wheel.
The decision to circulate the story that Smith wants his release simply took advantage of the first day of Super Bowl week to get him maximum media attention. And, it did get the media’s attention. It’s just not news or worth any real discussion. Smith was a good soldier when he got hurt and lost his job to a better player. He deserves better than to have the 49ers reward him by making him spend next season on the bench behind Colin Kaepernick.