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Smith Looking for San Francisco Release

Concussion knocked Alex Smith out of action and out of the starting lineup. Now the San Francisco quarterback is looking for the door.

Backup quarterback Alex Smith is reportedly seeking his release from the San Francisco 49ers.

News surfaced this week that Smith – who began the season as starting quarterback – was looking to bring a premature close to a three-year contract – purportedly worth $24 million – signed last summer.

Smith went 6-2-1 as a starter for the Niners this season before a concussion forced him out midway through Week 10’s game against St. Louis. Second-year backup Colin Kaepernick took over quarterback duties for the rest of the game and the following week, which ultimately led to the Wally Pipp scenario. Smith has not played since.

With Kaepernick excelling in the starter’s roll and leading the Niners’ Super Bowl charge, Smith no longer believes he’ll see starting time in the City by the Bay.

Smith spent much of last summer waiting to resign with San Francisco, despite leading the Niners to their best finish in 17 years, and coming within touching distance of a Super Bowl appearance. The San Francisco front office had hoped to lure Peyton Manning to the Pacific Coast, but after his refusal Smith was resigned. Smith himself met with Miami during the summer.

A release would allow Smith to effectively pick where he wants to play. Unlike the current scenario with Tim Tebow, there should be plenty of takers for Smith, who, whilst never exceptional, has proven over the past two years that he knows how to win.

However, it’s unlikely that Smith will get his wish.

San Francisco’s front office will look at potential trade scenarios and see what they can get for the eight-year veteran. For Smith, that may mean getting on a plane and going somewhere he doesn’t want to.

At this juncture, the immediate candidate for Smith’s services would be Kansas City.

With new head coach Andy Reid taking over the reins, the Chiefs may be in the market for a new quarterback, particularly as Matt Cassell had a less than stellar season. On top of that, this year’s draft doesn’t appear to have a quarterback that might warrant the No. 1 pick the Chiefs have.

On the other hand, Reid’s former employers might take a look at Smith too. It’s unlikely that Philadelphia will continue to move forward with Michael Vick, and Smith would bring stability to a side that needs exactly that.

Smith may not even need to move far. If Oakland decides that the Carson Palmer experiment has run its course, Smith may only need to cross the bay and don a Raiders uniform.

Other potential suitors would include Jacksonville, Arizona, and Tennessee.

Of course, at this point, that’s all speculation, and if the 49ers deemed it the best move for the team, they might even hang on to him for added security at backup.

Regardless of where Smith’s future lies, San Francisco will look to lift the Lombardi Trophy aloft for the sixth time on Sunday. In order to do that, the team will need to avoid this news becoming a distraction.

For the Niners, it’s a rare scenario in which players’ own preferences take precedence over the team this season.

We’re all used to Baltimore sounding off. Only this week the Ravens have been making all the noise. We’ve heard how Ray Lewis has forgiven Wes Welker’s wife for comments she made on Twitter. We’ve heard how Ed Reed – along with the President – believes football should be safer. We’ve heard how Joe Flacco thinks the Super Bowl being played in New Jersey is “retarded”.

Those are exactly the sort of topics that can easily lead to distraction, and something San Francisco’s teammates should keep in mind.

For now, Smith remains a Niner. He’ll take to the sidelines in New Orleans on Sunday with a clipboard and headset but ready to take to the field if it’s required of him. And it might be required of him. Stranger things have happened.

After Sunday’s game comes to an end, then Smith and the front office can get down to some good ol’ fashioned negotiations. From there, Smith can start thinking about plane tickets.

If you want a little bit of extra spice to go with your betting this Sunday, consider the following: Smith is 75/1 to win the Super Bowl XLVII MVP award. In less than a week that number has dropped from 100/1. An injury to Kaepernick could start the ball rolling for something very special for players, fans, and bettors alike.

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