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49ers Q&A: Quarterback Alex Smith

49ers Q&A: Quarterback Alex Smith

December 29, 2010

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Quarterback Alex Smith
Press Conference Dec. 29, 2010

On what his week has been like, given the organizational changes:
Yeah, obviously, you know, some changes made, different. You know, week 17 and final week of the season, but some changes with it so, yeah, different.On his volatile relationships hes had with his previous two head coaches:
I guess, I wouldnt describe it as volatile, you know? I got along really well with coach Singletary. I think the perception is a little different just because hes a fiery guy, hes emotional. I mean, I think thats who he is. I think those are - those are positives about him. I mean, thats what makes him who he is and I think people just saw some things that have gone on on the sideline, but as a whole I think he brought a lot of energy because of that.On whether it was hard for the team because of the constant changes at the quarterback position:
Well, I mean, I think it was hard because we werent winning. You know, we had a lot of expectations. I think that was the biggest thing, that was the most difficult. You know, a lot of expectations coming into this year and not to achieve them is frustrating for everybody.On whether he has spoken with former head coach Mike Singletary since he was dismissed following the Rams game:
I havent. I havent got to; its, you know, its hard. All of a sudden I found out Im going again this week and there will be time after this week to really talk and kind of rehash things, so.On whether it would be nice to go out, play well and win in the last game, given everything he has been through with the 49ers:
Of course. I guess nice to go out there and play well period; Im not really getting into the, Whats going to happen after this? But its, whenever you go out there, I mean even though its the last game of the season and were out of the playoffs, pride is on the line. You want to go out there and play well, no question. I mean, thats not going to change.On whether he has thought about what is going to happen after the season ends:
No Im not. Im not thinking about any of that other stuff. That all, you know, thats what the offseason is for. Right now Im focused on-On whether he has thought that the upcoming game against the Cardinals might be his last game with the 49ers:
Like I said, thats all out there, those are possibilities, but I havent had time to ponder and think about all that. Thats for after this week.On whether he has the desire to prove that he deserved to be chosen in the first round of the draft:
I mean, of course that desire is always there. I dont know if it necessarily goes back to the draft, per se, as it were a few years ago. I was still not that far removed from that. At this point, its just that you want to go out and win for the organization, for the fans, for the team. Thats the biggest thing. I dont know if its as much going back to the draft and proving that. But any team youre a part of, you want to do it for everyone involved. As much as this team puts in, the coaching staff, the organization, the fans, everyone involved.On his thoughts on starting this week and his emotions knowing that an interim coach feels that he gives them the best chance to win:
Yeah, I mean Id be lying if I said it wasnt frustrating last week, you know, finding out that with the season on the line, not to get the start. But it happened, and this week I am getting the nod, and its another opportunity. You know, Im excited about it. Im going to prepare and reset the team. I think theres even more distraction at this point because we know that the season is over after this Sunday, but were going to stay focused and go out there and take advantage of the other team.On whether it was frustrating to not get the start last week in such an important game:
Yeah, yeah no question. We hadnt been in a position I havent, since Ive been here been in a position like that. You know, week 16, playoffs on the line, so yeah, no question it was frustrating.On what his conversation with then head coach Mike Singletary was that week when he found out he wasnt starting and whether he lobbied for the start:
I dont know how much lobbying I was doing, you know its not my job, but definitely emotional, frustrating, you know I definitely voiced my opinion, thats for sure. I wasnt sitting back and taking it, but I dont know if Id call it lobbying.On what interim head coach Jim Tomsula has brought this week:
Yeah, you know, its hard. Obviously I think whatever changes he wants to make, you know coming in as a head coach, theres only one week left so you cant really do that much. So I think he has to put that all in perspective and what changes, if any, give us the best chance to win.On what the ideal scenario would be for a quarterback:
Young quarterback? What are we talking here? response: sure. I dont know if theres anything perfect, I mean obviously ideally youd like to come into a situation where everyone around you all the pieces around you were as stable as possible. You know, offense was in place, the guys knew it, offensive line was in place, guys knew the system, you were coming in and everyone around you I guess was as stable as possible.On the ideal situation not being available to him:
Yeah, its not like that for many people though, especially young quarterbacks. You know often times if youre an early draft pick, its usually tied in with the new head coach because theyre coming in, so. A lot of guys dont get that.On what offensive coordinator Mike Johnson is like and whether they will see what he is all about in the final game since there has been a head coaching change:
I think thats hard as well, I think youre still trying to go out and win a game. I think Coach Tomsulas made that clear, theres no real- I mean this isnt an audition for any of us. Were not going out there doing crazy things or trying to reinvent a bunch of stuff week 17 because were not playing for the playoffs. So, I dont know if were necessarily going to go in that direction. I think were going to do everything we can do to win a game, going to be sharp, going to do the things weve continued to do.On whether he is worried about the focus of his teammates with the season ending:
Im not worried about that, with the group of guys that we have. You know that is a point though, it is there. I mean, even just talking about those things, weve already addressed some of the exit meetings and stuff. So thats there, but I think we have a good group of guys that all are prideful and here to play.On LB Patrick Willis being ruled out for the game:
Yeah, its a loss for sure, no question. Not just for the defense, but for the team, to not have him out there in the pads. You know hes definitely a leader of this team, so, well be affected by it.On Willis being named a Pro Bowl starter:
The thing that I appreciate about Patrick, I mean obviously hes a vocal leader, but he leads by example. Hes certainly not asking anything of his teammates that he doesnt ask of himself. Thats the thing that I appreciate most about him.

Maybe our wanting him to play isn’t the best thing for Colin Kaepernick

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AP

Maybe our wanting him to play isn’t the best thing for Colin Kaepernick

The National Football League’s 32 overlords have been made increasingly uncomfortable by the pressures between its now dual purpose – putting on demonstrations of entertainment and being a prop for patriotic symbolism. It is a dance that rich men in their upper 60s and beyond aren’t really very well equipped to do.

But that’s what happens when you try to be all things to all people – at least all people who have the money to afford it. Eventually you find yourselves staring back at yourselves and wondering what the hell you’ve done to yourselves.

Put another way, this has gotten a lot bigger than Colin Kaepernick not having a quarterbacking gig. In fact, it has probably made the minimal notion that some owner would consider doing so that much more remote. Putting aside the rightness or wrongness of signing him, no owner in these profoundly uncertain times for the business is going to take on a new “burden.”

And there’s a part of me that wonders whether that is actually a bad thing in the end.

Not because he shouldn’t have the opportunity. If football is a meritocracy, and nobody can explain why he isn’t one of the 64 best quarterbacks in the nation, he should have a place somewhere. If he wants to play, and there is no evidence that he doesn’t, and the need for his talents is there, and it seems to be, any owner whose team needs a quarterback and chooses to avoid Kaepernick because of his uppity knee is committing a political act.

But we also know that football is essentially a dangerous pastime for people with heads and brains, and there is something slightly off-putting about us wanting that level of long-term danger for someone else. As we learn more about the cost of playing the sport, maybe our wanting him to play isn’t the best thing for him.

In other words, Colin Kaepernick should be someone’s quarterback by virtue of the level of talent at the position. He should chase his football desire without having to abandon his conscience.

But the essential lunacy of him having no quarterbacking job is, at least for me, balanced by the knowledge that football is in large part not good for a human head. And I kind of like where his head is at these days.

So if he never plays again, I will shake my head at the absurdity and rigidity of the people who run the sport, and revel in their ongoing discomfort because they conflated economics and politics and paid the price for that misjudgment.

And I will feel okay with him never playing again, just because if I have to choose between brain health and my Sunday amusement, I'll take option A.

Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it

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AP

Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, so the speculation was that he would not allow his players to kneel during the national anthem.

The Cowboys and their owner did kneel, though not during the anthem.

Following a weekend of kneeling and protesting across the NFL, the Cowboys and their owner displayed their own version of unity Monday night, kneeling on the field before rising as a group prior to the playing of the national anthem.

"I hope that I'm clear and I hope that our team is clear: We want to respect the flag. Make no mistake about that," Jones said.

"Nothing that we've done, nothing that we did tonight says anything other than that. We also want to as a complete team, as players and an organization, be able to, whenever we can, demonstrate that unity is important and equality is important.

"That's what I'm so proud of these guys for, they did both and did it in a way when people really stop and think about it, makes a lot of sense."

The Cowboys sat and watched the protests across the NFL on Sunday and spent most of Monday discussing the best way to show unity without denigrating the flag.

After warmups Monday night, they went into the locker room and returned to the field for the anthem, lining up between the sideline and the yard markers on the field.

Arm-in-arm, they dropped to a knee as a giant flag was carried onto the field, with Jones and his family in the middle near the 50-yard line.

Numerous boos rang out across University of Phoenix Stadium as the Cowboys kneeled and continued as the players rose, still arm-in-arm, and stepped back to the sideline as the flag was unfurled across the field. They remained connected as Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

"The objectives, as much as anything else, was to somehow, some way demonstrate unity and demonstrate equality, and do so without any way involving the American flag and the national anthem," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

The Arizona Cardinals had their own symbol of unity after a weekend of protests in the NFL, gathering along the goal line arm-in-arm during the national anthem. They were joined by owner Michael Bidwell, his family and general manager Steve Keim.

More than 200 NFL players kneeled, sat or prayed during the national anthem on Sunday after President Trump said any player who does not stand for the national anthem should be fired.

Three teams did not take the field for the national anthem and numerous NFL owners came out against Trump's statements.