It seems that when in doubt during this lockout, writing about Alex Smith is as good a choice as any. The last couple days has seen a variety of articles about the often embattled 49ers QB. Matt Maiocco posted about the never easy relationship between Alex Smith and the 49ers. Mike Sando chimed in on the "Alex Smith Leadership Conference." This all comes following Smith's fairly wide-ranging interview with various media members after a practice session in the South Bay.
In all of this, Alex Smith really does strike me (and others it would seem) as a really unique type of player. Some might call him a masochist for putting himself through all this. In his interview yesterday, Smith spoke on this. Thanks to Tim Kawakami for his transcription of the discussion:
It would have been easier, to go to a new place, a fresh start, and maybe I should have. But at this point, I'm happy with where I'm at and really attempting to be about something different in this league ... Nothing against decisions that other guys have made in the past, (but) I feel like it's such an easy way out. I don't know of any other guy that has ever attempted to do what I'm doing. If there's anything that I feel like I stand for as a person, not even a football player, it's that."
It's really quite fitting that the Alex Smith situation has taken a turn for the fairly bizarre as the NFL lockout rages on and creates a truly bizarre offseason. Kawakami and Sando both make the correct point that offseason leadership still doesn't necessarily fill the important need for actual on-field execution. As it currently stands, who really knows what's going to happen.
It's a great offseason story that he's filled this leadership void, but we won't know the true lasting impact until football actually gets going again. It makes it easy to root for the guy, but as 49ers fans have learned over the last six years, it could just as easily set us up for stomach-punching failure.
Assuming Smith does re-sign (do I get a little credit on this one? OK maybe not), I'll be rooting as hard as anybody for him to succeed. However, I'll have to work to temper my expectations yet again. Why does this remind me of Charlie Brown trying to kick a football?