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Thursday, February 17, 2011
Why 49ers make sense for Alex Smith

By Mike Sando

New San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has repeatedly offered praise for quarterback Alex Smith.

The two have met several times, leaving the rest of us to focus on whether bringing back Smith could make sense for the 49ers heading into an uncertain offseason. We've spent less energy discussing whether returning to the 49ers would make sense for Smith.

Alex Smith
Alex Smith could benefit from having an offensive-minded head coach.
Getting a fresh start in a new place could help Smith shake the expectations that arguably dragged him down as the first player chosen in the 2005 NFL draft. But the grass is not always greener someplace else and there's a decent chance San Francisco could stand as Smith's best option, as I noted in response to a New Zealand-based 49ers fan, Mike, during a recent Facebook exchange.

Smith might be unlikely to find another situation featuring:
Smith will have to consider options elsewhere, of course, and the 49ers will look to upgrade. But these specific criteria could, in the end, trump the overriding notion that a fresh start would be best no matter what.