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49ers’ Smith wonders how he lost starting job

Fri., Nov. 30, 2012

Alex Smith is trying to understand how he lost his job as starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers a month after being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

It’s not an easy thing for the NFL’s fifth-rated quarterback to deal with this week, even though Smith already has experienced plenty of ups and downs in his tumultuous career since the 49ers made him the No. 1 overall selection of the 2005 draft.

Smith spoke with the media Thursday for the first time since coach Jim Harbaugh made Colin Kaepernick the team’s starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, a rematch of the last game in which Smith appeared.

Smith is now recovered from the concussion he suffered in that Nov. 11 game and has been medically cleared to play.

But he’ll be Kaepernick’s backup for the second consecutive week. Smith is uncertain what Harbaugh’s decision means for him the rest of this season.

“I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion,” Smith said.

In 28 consecutive starts before the injury, Smith had a 21-6-1 and played a significant role in San Francisco’s rise back to prominence last year and continued success this season. Smith resurrected his career under Harbaugh, who took over as San Francisco’s coach in 2011.

Saints’ case heard

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and lawyers for the league and the players’ union have wrapped up a hearing in Washington for the Saints bounties case.

Tagliabue is overseeing the latest round of player appeals in Washington.

Former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo, a key witness in the NFL’s investigation, spoke Thursday, and former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is to participate in today’s session.

Saints’ bus egged

New Orleans Saints players say their bus was pelted with eggs by airport workers after they touched down in Atlanta. Tight end Jimmy Graham, linebacker Will Herring and quarterback Chase Daniel tweeted about the incident late Wednesday night at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Quick kicks

Packers (7-4) RB Cedric Benson will remain on injured reserve for the rest of the season after having surgery on his foot. … Cowboys (5-6) RB DeMarco Murray practiced for the first time since spraining his right foot a month-and-a-half ago, but it remains unclear if he’ll end a six-game absence Sunday. … Rams (4-6-1) WR Danny Amendola wore a walking boot and missed a second straight day of practice and DE Robert Quinn also missed a second straight day with a concussion. … Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins has been fined $7,875 for pushing Pierre Garcon to the ground well after the Washington (5-6) receiver crossed the goal line on a touchdown last week. … The Chiefs (1-10) claimed OL Hayworth Hicks off waivers. Hicks spent time on the Colts’ practice squad before being acquired by the Jets on Nov. 6.

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