Why Smith will continue to wear helmet on sideline

November 30, 2012, 11:29 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- Be prepared to see a lot more TV shots of Alex Smith wearing his helmet on the sideline while the 49ers have the football on Sunday.This is not an indication that Smith expects to be summoned to replace Colin Kaepernick. It's what every backup quarterback does, Smith told CSNBayArea.com on Friday just prior to the team's departure to face the St. Louis Rams.
New starter Colin Kaepernick wore a helmet on the sideline when Smith was the starter. And Scott Tolzien wore a helmet when the 49ers had the ball during the one game that Smith was inactive due to a concussion.The only difference is that TV cameras can be expected to regularly show Smith on the sideline during games now that coach Jim Harbaugh announced Kaepernick as the starter. Quarterback helmets are outfitted with radio transmitters -- indicated by the green dot on the back of the helmet -- that relay the play call from the sideline into the huddle. The backup quarterback is expected to follow along as those calls are going into the game.The alternative, Smith said, would be to wear a walkie-talkie clipped to his waistband and an earpiece. But that apparatus is typically only for a quarterback who is inactive, he said. The 49ers have only one such device, and Tolzien wears it.Despite how it might look -- or what conclusions the TV announcers might draw from the appearance -- Smith said he will continue to wear a helmet on the sideline as the backup quarterback.He said it is "irresponsible" not to wear a helmet. He said if he is needed to get onto the field in a hurry to replace Kaepernick, he does not have to waste time disconnecting wires and running to get his helmet. He'll already be ready to go.

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