Alex Smith, Justin Smith join Gore, Willis as captains

September 2, 2012, 12:32 am
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SANTA CLARA -- In 2010, then-49ers coach Mike Singletary named quarterback Alex Smith as a team captain for the first time in his career.Two months later, Singletary promoted Troy Smith to a starting role and made it clear he preferred Troy Smith's more-aggressive leadership style.Alex Smith is back as a 49ers captain -- this time selected by his teammates. He and Justin Smith join last year's nominees Frank Gore and Patrick Willis as this season's captains."There's no greater honor than being elected captain by your teammates," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh announced Saturday.Harbaugh said a players-only election of team captain is a two-year term. Gore and Willis were selected last season, and the Smiths were added on Saturday."It comes and goes," Alex Smith said on the day of his second career captain appointment.Gore, who, like Alex Smith, entered the NFL in 2005, was named a team captain for the first time last season. "When I speak, I mean it," Gore said. "I'm more of a laid-back guy. I'm happy that the guys look at me as a big person on the team and they respect me as a great teammate."Gore said he fully endorsed the promotion of Alex Smith to captain status."He deserves it. He had a great year last year. He had a great camp. He's a hard-worker, great teammate, and everybody respects him in the locker room," Gore said. "He deserves to be the captain."Smith had his best NFL season last year in helping the 49ers to a 13-3 regular-season record and within one game of the Super Bowl. Smith's first seven seasons were marked by constant change, nearly two seasons of injuries and mediocre play."I think as long as you got the right guys around us, and especially around your quarterback, they can't do nothing but get better and successful," Gore said. "When you have Coach Harbaugh and his coaching staff behind you and not beating you down, you get more confidence."