By TED SILLANPAA
The 49ers took an incredible risk by turning the quarterback job to Colin Kaepernick. The kid blossomed into one of the top prospective superstars in the NFL. The who Kaepernick could’ve been disaster if Alex Smith hadn’t opted to handle his demotion with professionalism sadly missing in professional sports these days.
During the pre-Super Bowl preparations, the Niners said they’d reward Smith by trading him or releasing him to hook on with a team where he can be a starter again. It’s the way successful businesses operate, I think. In the 49ers’ spot, I’d like to think I’d reward Smith even if it meant it hurt my team a little. They could, after all, just keep him for another season and make him suffer sitting behind Kaepernick. The club seems to wantto do what seems fair to Smith.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the 49ers have decided they won’t necessarily trade or release Smith. The story broke Wednesday night … probably at the exact moment that the Niners were rebuffed by a potential trade partner willing to offer nothing of value for a quarterback they’ve acknowledged they’re willing to release.
The 49ers didn’t change their mind and decide that Smith isn’t worthy of a chance to start elsewhere after how he handled losing his job in San Francisco. They haven’t decided that fans and media types who insist they owe Smith nothing. What they owe Smith is a healthy salary and he’s got that in San Francisco, right?
Wrong. The guy handled himself like he fell off the cover of a 1958 “Sports Illustrated” NFL edition. He put the team first. Said all the right things. And, the 49ers needed him to do that even when the world could see Kaepernick was the quarterback of their future. For being a professional when modern athletes tend to put self first, Smith’s going to traded or, maybe, released. No question.
The Niners just had to appear that maybe they’ve decided they won’t trade or release Smith in order to get potential trade partners more interesting in offering something of value in return.