Demoted Smith finds Super Bowl week a trying experience

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:34pm EST
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By Simon Evans

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - While the key starters for the San Francisco 49ers sat on elevated podiums at the Super Bowl media day on Tuesday, quarterback Alex Smith stood among the reporters with the largely anonymous ranks of defense men and reserves.

Smith, who led the team to six wins from their opening eight games this season, lost his starting spot after suffering a concussion in week nine against the St. Louis Rams.

Even though he had been in good form and quickly returned to health, coach Jim Harbaugh opted to stick with replacement Colin Kaepernick.

The rest is now part of 49ers history. Kaepernick has guided the team to their first Super Bowl in 18 years, where they will face the Baltimore Ravens, while Smith has sat and watched from the sidelines every Sunday.

Now, as the Super Bowl journey he began concludes without him, the only discussions in the media about Smith are where he will play once he has left the 49ers and how tough it must be for him to endure the hype for a game in which he will, injuries permitting, probably not throw a ball.

"I'm not going to lie about any of that. It has been tough at times for sure, tough to accept, tough to watch, but we're in the Super Bowl," Smith told reporters.

"This has been an amazing experience. It's a great team, I love being a part of it. I have said it before, it's bittersweet a little bit, but still, it's been a great thing to be a part of."

Smith denied media reports that he had already asked the 49ers to release him from his contract.   Continued...

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith walks on the field after he was not given a booth to answers question from journalists during Media Day for the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana January 29, 2013. The 49ers will meet the Baltimore Ravens in the game on February 3. REUTERS/Joe Skipper