One of the biggest storylines of the season has been the rise of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the benching of teammate Alex Smith.
Smith, who was the NFL’s highest rated passer at the time of his replacement, suffered a concussion midway through the season. And then he and the team’s trainers agreed that he wasn’t able to return to the field.
Since then, Smith has been both praised and criticized for saying he suffered a concussion. While he may have handled the injury by NFL protocol, many players worried that his benching will cause some players to hide concussions at a time the league wants more players to speak up when they have a head injury.
Smith talked about his decision Wednesday with the New York Daily News — and didn’t have any regrets.
“No, no, no, not at all,” said Smith, 28. “I mean, we’re all going to be done with this game at some point. We’ve got a lot of life ahead of us. You err on the side of caution with that head stuff. There’s no brain transplants that I’ve ever heard of. You only get one. It’s not something to mess around with.”
As for the reaction from other players, he said he handled the injury the way in which he needed.
“Players deal with that, with all types of injuries and have always dealt with that, whether it be an ankle or your head,” Smith said. “I think it ultimately comes down to the doctors and the players and how they feel. I don’t think anybody is going out there recklessly. If guys don’t think they’re ready and can’t go in then I don’t think they’re going to mess with it.”
Regardless, the end result hasn’t been easy for Smith to handle. He’s played the role of the good teammate and he’s doing his best to support his replacement in any way that he can. But he said, “I’m not going to lie about any of that. It’s tough at times, for sure. Tough to accept. Tough to watch.
“But we’re in the Super Bowl and it’s been an amazing experience. I love being a part of this. I’ve said this before. It’s bittersweet a little bit, but it’s a great thing to be a part of.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor