Back to Alex
The chase is over.
Peyton Manning has finally chosen a suitor. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for 49er fans, Manning has chosen to remain in the AFC and play for the Broncos in the house that Tebow built. Okay, maybe not built, but saved.
Now, with clarity on the issue, the 49ers’ attention now turns back to the man who has been at the helm for close to seven years – Alex Smith. But can they get him back?
After emerging as a late finalist in the Manning-sweepstakes, the 49ers put their contract negotiations with Smith on hold until after they found out Manning’s preferred destination. While many were behind the idea of Manning in the red and gold, I was one of the few who thought it wouldn’t be in San Francisco’s best interest to bring him on board or even entertain the thought of bringing him on board.
One of the main reasons was that they shouldn’t mess with Smith’s psyche shortly after his best season as a pro. Yes, I understand it’s a business and that the 49ers needed to put their name in the hat to try and get one of the best quarterbacks of all time. But was he really going to make that much of a difference coming off four neck surgeries and sitting out an entire season? Why go through all of that when Smith’s confidence is at an all-time high and is finally getting comfortable behind center and seemingly ready to lead this team to a Super Bowl?
Now the 49ers are back to trying to get Smith back – physically and mentally – despite reports of him visiting the Miami Dolphins and inquiring about their vacant quarterback job. It’s very possible and likely that Smith will end up back in the Bay Area but what kind of damage has been done? It will be interesting to see, if he is brought back, what (if any) strain has been put on his relationship with the front office and most importantly, coach Jim Harbaugh. There is no doubt a little bit of hurt feelings involved after Harbaugh went on record on several occasions stating that Smith was his quarterback for the foreseeable future.
The 49ers’ failed pursuit of Manning may not be remembered by the fact that he didn’t sign here but instead, on the effect that it had on Alex Smith. Just because these guys are professional athletes doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings or hold grudges. Smith has been nothing but a professional since he came into the NFL and arguably one of the most mentally tough professionals after all the criticism and slander he has received since being drafted. However, everyone has a limit to how much someone (or in this case a team) can show they don’t fully believe in you before mentally checking out. Just ask Monta Ellis.
If Smith is on the fence about returning, Harbaugh, Baalke and Jed York should sit him in a room and constantly play the Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back” until he agrees to sign a contract. Or if he’s more of an N’Sync guy, their version would work too.
On another note, Tim Tebow is now available. Maybe they should go after him…
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