49ers name Aldon Smith team's most valuable player

Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:36pm EST
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By Simon Evans

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has dominated the headlines for getting his team to the Super Bowl but the 49ers chose outside linebacker Aldon Smith as their most valuable player.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh revealed on Monday that second year Smith, who was second in the National Football League during the regular season with 19.5 sacks, was named most valuable player after a vote by the team's players and coaches.

"There are so many great players on this team it really is an honor to get this award. To come here in my second year and get MVP, it means a lot to me," Smith told reporters.

Although Smith has not managed a sack in the last five games, Harbaugh said he remained a potent part of the team's defense in many other ways.

"Not having the sacks there -- that low-hanging fruit that people see, they don't always see the things Aldon's doing so well. That's why they voted him the most valuable player," he said.

Harbaugh highlighted Smith's role in the comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game as an example of his less noticeable work.

"He got a game ball for his performance in the Falcons game, because he had a lot of pressures and hurries," said Harbaugh. "He also played the run extremely well and recovered a fumble. Overall he did a really thorough job and had a good game."

Smith's recent sack drought has coincided with an injury to defensive end Justin Smith, who he has forged a very productive partnership with in his two seasons.   Continued...

San Franciso 49ers Aldon Smith arrives for the Inaugural National Football League Honors at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana, February 4, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar