From the Sacramento Bee:
The 49ers and [Alex] Smith were slow to agree to a contract deal. And before they did, the 49ers pursued Peyton Manning, who eventually chose to sign with the Broncos. Smith today re-iterated that there were no hard feelings between him and Harbaugh. But he did allow that the episode was “a little awkward” and will serve as motivation.
“Certainly there are a lot of forms of motivation,” said Smith, who eventually signed a three-year deal with the 49ers. “I guess that’s there a little bit as far as motivation.”
Here’s what 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had to say about the Manning Chase a few weeks back.
“Were we out there seeing, evaluating if we could have them both? Heck yeah,” Harbaugh said. “You evaluate that, you eliminate the possibility. We would not have given any player out there in free agency a sixth of our salary cap and let six or seven of our own guys go. Hopefully, that sets the record straight. You don’t have to keep reporting the silliness or phoniness.
“There was interest (in Manning) and we evaluated it, pursued it, further evaluated it and there was conversations. But there was nothing said to Alex that was not said to Peyton Manning or in house here, on the record or off the record. Both those young men knew exactly what our intentions were.”
Regardless if Harbaugh was lying, he actions during this offseason have sparked a little bit of … something within Alex Smith. I believe he recognizes that as an NFL player, unless you’re a star within the league, your hold on a starting job is tenuous at best. After having a career year in 2011, Smith just may step his game up another notch in order to show the 49ers that they’ve had their franchise quarterback all along and chasing after Peyton was completely unnecessary.