SANTA CLARA -- CEO Jed York is remaining out of the 49ers' quarterback debate.
Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick? York's answer is to defer to coach Jim Harbaugh, who chose Kaepernick to remain as the starter after Smith was knocked from the lineup due to a concussion on Nov. 11.
"I'm excited that we're leading the NFC West," York said Thursday. "I'm excited that we're winning football game. This is a very difficult business to be in, and I'm glad that I have somebody like Coach Harbaugh to make tough decisions for me."
York attended a ceremony as the 49ers stadium construction reached a significant milestone. The "topping out" ceremony commemorated the placement of two steel beams at the highest point of the stadium. The gold-painted beams were erected 200 feet to the top of the stadium tower.
York said he has not spoken to Smith about his status, nor does he ever get involved in any player's role within the team.
"Coach Harbaugh is going to make the decisions on the field," York said. "And if you want your owner and CEO to make your calls on the field, then you're probably cheering for the wrong team.
"It's Coach Harbaugh's decision. He's the head coach of the 49ers, and I trust him to make the decisions that we need to make in order to do what we can to win."
The 49ers (8-3-1) own a 1 1/2-game lead in the NFC West over the Seattle Seahawks with four regular-season games to play.
Colin Kaepernick will remain as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the New York Jets.
Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins made the announcement on Tuesday while coach Chip Kelly was in Maine for services for his father, E. Paul Kelly, who passed away on Friday.
Kaepernick has started the past seven games for the 49ers, during which time the club has gone winless. The 49ers (1-11) are on a franchise-long 11 game-losing streak.
Kaepernick went 1 of 5 on Sunday for just four yards in the 49ers’ 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards before getting benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert.
“We had been playing good football on offense and the thing had been trending in the right direction,” Modkins said.
A week earlier against the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 113 yards as the 49ers rolled up 475 yards of total offense.
Kelly said the 49ers made the switch at quarterback early in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Bears in hopes Gabbert would provide a spark. Gabbert started the 49ers’ first five games of the season before Kaepernick replaced him.
Frank Gore continues to move up the list of the top rushers in NFL history.
Gore, the 49ers’ all-time leading ground-gainer, picked up 79 yards on 20 rushing attempts Monday night in the Indianapolis Colts’ 41-10 victory over the New York Jets.
Gore moved past Tony Dorsett and into eighth place on the NFL’s all-time list with 12,789 yards. Next up is Eric Dickerson at No. 7 with 13,259 yards.
The only retired player in the top 11 all-time rushers who is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is LaDainian Tomlinson. He is eligible for the induction for the first time in 2017. The only other running back in the top 15 who is not in the Hall of Fame is Edgerrin James at No. 12.
In 10 seasons with the 49ers, Gore gained a club-record 11,073 yards. In 28 games with the Colts, Gore has 1,716 yards.
After coming up just 33 yards short of the 1,000-yard mark in his first year in Indianapolis, Gore needs 251 yards in the final four games for the ninth 1,000-yard season of his 12-year career.