Here is the opening to my Monday column about Alex Smith:

We assume Alex Smith will not be a 49er next season.

We assume the 49ers will trade him. They will not release him because they would get nothing in return, and that’s just bad business.

One way or another, he is gone.

So how do we remember Smith, the first pick in the 2005 draft? He never deserved to go first, not in an Aaron-Rodgers draft. Picking Smith so high, placing all those expectations on him, was the 49ers’ fault. He suffered for his lofty draft status and his lofty contract — none of it his fault.

And he was not a bust. He is a good quarterback who, unfortunately for him, is not a hell of a quarterback.

To read the full column, click here.

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  1. Dennis

    That was the nicest thing you have written about Smith that I can remember. I agree with every word of it.

    February 25th, 2013 9:18 am

  2. DBJ

    Smith is the rare high profile athlete whose post career achievements will probably exceed his athletic achievements. Nobody needs to feel sorry for him.

    February 25th, 2013 9:37 am

  3. Steve the cat rescuer

    For whatever reason I didn’t feel the same sense of interest in the 2012 Niners as the 2011 version. What with Harbaugh’s surly haughtiness and sideline behavior and Kaepernick’s rapid transformation from openly expressive to tight-lipped cliche spewing attitude, I didn’t connect to the team. Thus my ho-hum lack of disappointment when they lost the Super Bowl. Call me old school but I still feel that personnel create interest in a team rather than laundry. I’ve never been a Raiders fan and lived in Chicago when they were great, but I followed that team religiously when they had those incredible personalities in the ’70s. Same for the A’s of the early ’70s. I’ll miss Smith’s intellectual approach to the game and his ability to express his opinions in an open and frank manner. He embraced the Bay Area and was an active participant in community activities. I wish him much success.

    February 25th, 2013 10:03 am

  4. Gary

    Do your derisive swipes at Harbaugh reflect on your opinion on him as a coach or a person?

    February 25th, 2013 10:05 am

  5. CohnZohn

    Gary, they reflect my view of him as a person. I am disappointed in the way he conducts himself publicly

    February 25th, 2013 10:16 am

  6. Stan

    We learned that with a great team,he’s good. With less then that,he’s journeymen plus level. Better then true journeymen,but not in the top ten. But then again,CK came out of Reno and topped Alex in his second year.

    Alex is still a mystery at going on 8 years in the NFL. That cant be good.

    February 25th, 2013 11:05 am

  7. Stan

    I will always think of Smith too as part of the great “bust pick” era in bay area sports. Smith,Zito,Rowand,Russell…and every single Warrior no.1. Just wasted picks,bad free agents in a low water time for bay area sports. Just terrible.

    February 25th, 2013 12:03 pm

  8. Frank in Minnesota

    I will remember Smith as a great character guy who had a slow start, was starting to master the position….but, oh well, time to make a fresh start. Wish him all the best….

    February 25th, 2013 12:06 pm

  9. Glenn

    Lowell –

    Was this a “guilt column” or indirect apology to Alex after several
    years of criticizing his QB play?

    February 25th, 2013 1:26 pm

  10. CohnZohn

    Glenn, I don’t think it was a guilt column. In this column I never said he’s a great QB and I still endorsed the change to Kaepernick. I gave Smith credit for what he is as a QB and as a man. No guilt there.

    February 25th, 2013 1:35 pm

  11. Brandon Conway

    If he goes to Kansas City he should do well with that offensive line and running game, and (presumably) Bowe to throw to. Reid would love to have an efficient, non-mistake QB I’m sure after Vick’s play the last couple years.

    February 25th, 2013 3:28 pm

  12. Dr. Feelgood

    Not passing judgement on the man or the quarterback, it’s just: it’s time to move on.
    I wish him the best.

    February 25th, 2013 4:37 pm

  13. K.G.

    I wish Alex Smith all the luck in the world, he has been a good soldier, through trying times during his tenure with the 49ers…..With Nolan, Singletary, & now Harbaugh.

    February 25th, 2013 5:45 pm

  14. Hoferfan67


    Outstanding article. AS is a class act and I wish him the best. He was unfortunately drafted to a team that had expansion team talent. His HC’s prior to JH were poor at best, and had no previous experience handling a QB, let alone a 20 year old rookie QB. Once AS received top notch coaching via JH and staff, he became a good QB. Regarding CK, you mentioned that he lets it rip. Yes he does, but unfortunately his TD productivity for the same amount of regular season games was only 10 passing TDs, in contrast to AS, who had 13. His passing TDs for the playoffs were only 4. I know he had running TDs that countered the passing TDs. He has more upside, and I expect better productivity from him, but he is not the slam dunk as some think he is in his current starting role. A little game management a la AS wouldn’t hurt his game. Let’s hope he is the second coming of JM and SY as some believe. TBD.

    February 25th, 2013 8:13 pm

  15. Owen

    Alex was never treated right by the team. He was rushed onto the field, saddled with ever changing play books, forced to play for a coach, Nolan, wha either dispised him or wanted to get him killed. Either way the man abused Alex in a criminal way. Yet he pulled up his socks and got better everyday. He is a menche, better then those who abused & now wish to discard him

    February 25th, 2013 11:51 pm

  16. Johnc

    Alex is a nice man but I think of him as mediocre quarterback at best. Some of his redzone misforturnes in season 2011 were in fairness attributed to “genius” Roman’s playcalling . By the way, how did you like Roman’s play calling the last 4 downs of the Superbowl? But I digress. Alex can’t throw deep and he gets happy feet when under pressure . He won’t have the Niner defense to bail him out on his next team. Good luck ..I think the Niners should try to get John Skelton from Arizona as backup. He never had a real chance under the clown Wisenhunt who posed as a coach. It were not for Curt Warner he would have been fired years ago.

    February 27th, 2013 12:51 am

  17. Mark M

    I’ll always remember Alex as a bust who made himself into a mediocre QB with time and good coaching. Even under Harbaugh, I always hated his non competitive style of checking down to underneath receivers on third and long and settling for FGs in the red zone so often. He very rarely truly competed in those situations. I just don’t respect his style of play, even today with his better efficiency numbers.

    But, as always, he’s certainly a very nice man.

    Baalke swindled the Chiefs today in my view.

    February 27th, 2013 3:44 pm

  18. David in Idaho

    Mr. Cohn,
    Having read your material for 3+ years out of state, I was prepared for a “good riddance” piece from you to AS. I feel many of your columns were backhanded compliments and frustrating to read. The blog you wrote in Nov., suggesting that AS leaked his benching news to Dilfer as a way to upset the team chemistry, was a particular low-blow.
    This column makes up for it with an honest assessment of Smith’s skills and weaknesses, but a praise of his character. I agree with it almost entirely.

    February 27th, 2013 4:00 pm

  19. Glenn

    Stan –

    That was very insightful regarding all of the horrible draft picks
    by Bay Area teams during the first decade of this century as well
    as very depressing to actually relive it as a fan.

    February 27th, 2013 5:24 pm

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