July 16th, 2009

49ers

I had no idea it was that bad for Alex Smith

So, I've always liked Alex Smith. That would be the QB the 49ers picked #1 overall in 2005 who had a 12-18 record over 4 seasons. Alex Smith, the bust.

I liked him, because unlike all the other chumps we had (I started watching the 49ers during the lockout, I never watched Joe Montana or Steve Young play for the team :P), I saw promise. And he was intelligent. He finished his economics degree in 2 years, and I think he got into law school with some ridiculous LSAT score.

He broke his shoulder and tried to play through it, but it was bad enough that he needed surgery at the end of the season and then the next year freaking JT O'Sullivan was the starting QB before Shaun Hill took over.

I figured that was going to be the end of Alex Smith with the 49ers, but then he restructured his contract to a lower amount so that he could stay with the team because he wanted to "finish what he started". He wanted the chance to compete for the starting position. That news made me so happy. :)

And then I read an ESPN article on him and found out that last season, during training camp, his best friend killed himself.

They'd talked the day before on the phone, mostly about Alex's shoulder, and how it felt, and how training camp was going, and that his friend sounded fine. He called him later that day, but Alex didn't answer the call and never called him back.

I mean, I thought he was having a rough time because his shoulder wasn't quite healed yet. But then to have to deal with his friend's suicide, and the guilt of thinking if he hadn't been so preoccupied with football, maybe he could have helped his friend. He still wakes up every morning and thinks about him.

I was already pulling hard for him because... I'm like that. :P I'll see a player and think, this is the guy and stubbornly want him to succeed. But knowing all of this makes me pull for him a hundred times more. He's apparently looked really good in OTAs, and it sounds like everything he's gone through has helped him.

"My focus is definitely in the right place," Smith said. "There are a lot of peripheral things that you have to deal with in this league, and I dealt with a lot of them when I came in. It's everything from being on your own to facing the media. But I'm at a point where I'm not going to let anything distract me. I know who I am. And I know where I want to go."

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