June 2, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comThe Alex Smith-49ers union has lasted six forgettable seasons. The highlight came in Year 2 when the 49ers surprisingly put together a 7-9 record, and things appeared moving in the right direction for Smith and the organization.Then, two years were wasted because of injuries to Smith's throwing shoulder. Prior to 2008, then-49ers general manager Scot McCloughan stated that Smith would not return in 2009 unless he finished that season as the clear-cut starter.Smith spent that season on injured reserve. Yet, when many believed at that point the 49ers and Smith should part ways, the sides reached agreement on a two-year deal that included a sizable pay cut.
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He remained healthy the past two seasons, and his statistical play showed incremental improvements. But there were no improvements to the 49ers' win-loss record. And when Smith's contract expired at the end of the season, he was admittedly ready to leave town.But circumstances always have a way of working together to make sure Smith and the 49ers remain together.This time, the owners-imposed lockout and coach Jim Harbaugh's offer of a playbook on the day the lockout briefly lifted on April 29 convinced Smith that the right thing for him to do was to give it another shot.Yes, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft will be back with the 49ers after the lockout lifts.RELATED: NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement page
"It would have been easier, to go to a new place, a fresh start, and maybe I should have," Smith told reporters from the San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee on Wednesday. "But at this point, I'm happy with where I'm at and really attempting to be about something different in this league."It's unprecedented that a No. 1 overall pick remains with the organization that drafted him after such a sketchy first six seasons. It's amazing the 49ers have stuck with him. And it's even more improbable that Smith -- despite hearing loud boos last season -- decided to remain.After all, the easy thing for Smith would be to run away and close this chapter of his professional career."Nothing against decisions that other guys have made in the past, (but) I feel like it's such an easy way out," Smith said. "I don't know of any other guy that has ever attempted to do what I'm doing.If there's anything that I feel like I stand for as a person, not even a football player, it's that."
The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.
After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.
The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.
Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.
The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.
The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.
Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.
The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.
An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.
Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.
"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.
Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.
"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.