After the 49ers cleared the Superdome following media day, CEO Jed York made his way to Radio Row, where we “borrowed” the set of NBC Sports Radio for a quick interview, as Vagabond Week continues at PFT Live.
On one of the most pressing offseason topics — the status of backup quarterback Alex Smith — York said that he’d like to have Smith and Colin Kaepernick on the team in 2013.
“I hope he’s with us,” York said. “From a cap standpoint, we have the room to be able to keep him. One quarterback is usually not enough to get you through a season. And to have two guys which the Niners had in Steve [Young] and Joe [Montana] for a long time, there’s no reason why you can’t have two guys on your team. And I hope we can find a way to make that happen.”
Smith may not want it to happen, because he may want to actually play. So what if Smith asks the 49ers to release him?
“He hasn’t made the request yet, and that’s something we’ll assess at end of the season,” York said. “I think Alex has been very clear, he’s been very up front, he’s been very professional throughout this whole thing. And he’s still a captain of the 49ers. And I think Alex deserves the opportunity and figure out what he wants to do at the end of the season.”
It all may have been very different, if Smith hadn’t suffered a concussion against the Rams. Still, York doesn’t believe Smith lost his job because of a concussion. York believes Kaepernick won the job.
“I don’t know that I would say Alex lost his job due to injury,” York said. “I think Kaep stepped up and played. And he got his opportunity and he took the most of his opportunity. It’s easy to say, ‘Well he lost his job because of injury.’ That’s not necessarily the case. And you need to understand that if you do go out there and play with a concussion, you might lose your career. And whether Alex is playing for us or he’s playing somewhere else next year, Alex has another 10 to 15 years to play in the National Football League because he was safe and he didn’t put himself in a position where he ended his career early.”
Regardless, Kaepernick got his opportunity because of a concussion suffered by Smith, and Smith ultimately could end up owning a Super Bowl ring because of it.