Judging from his recent defensive comments about Cam Newton, Alex Smith has a bit of a thing about feeling unappreciated. It seems to be a prevailing theme for quarterbacks on Harbaugh-coached teams that lose in conference championship games. Lots of specificity there. Anyway, Jim Harbaugh wants everyone to know that Alex was his big champ all along, even though the Niners were aggressive in the later stages of the Peyton Manning free agency sweepstakes.
Now Harbs the Younger wants to set the record straight. Or skew the record to suit his needs. However you wish to phrase it, Jim Harbaugh now wants to pretend that his teams was never really interesting in signing Peyton Manning. Rather, they were only “evaluating” him, much in the way Chesters evaluate random women in public.
JH: Oh, one other thing. The perception out there, and itâ€™s an erroneous perception, that we were flirting with Peyton Manning. I keep hearing that over and over and over again. Itâ€™s silly and itâ€™s untrue. Itâ€™s phony. Even the perception that we were pursuing him â€“ we were evaluating him. Iâ€™ve said it all along: Alex Smith has been our quarterback.
Q: If Peyton had said he wanted to come here would Alex still be here as well?
JH: That would have been the hope, yeah. Like I said, there was no scenario where we werenâ€™t going to have Alex Smith on this team if we could help it. Now you donâ€™t control all those factors. So I think thatâ€™s very clear, very concise, hopefully everyone can understand that.
He goes on to say that Alex Smith’s visit to the Dolphins was all part of the free agency game and that San Francisco never actually thought he was getting away from them. Like a good jilted quarterback who knows his options are limited and is perhaps smart enough to know not to play for the Dolphins, Smith slunk back to the Niners and signed for slightly more money than he has been getting.
Judging from the reception, no one’s really buying Harbs’ comments, but Smith might just appreciates the token showing of faith. And it’s important to keep Alex Smith happy, since the 49ers hopes for another title run are predicated on Alex being just adequate enough to let the defense and running game do its job without having to overcompensate for a lack of offense.