Alex Smith thrilled to be in K.C.
Alex Smith was introduced as the Kansas City Chiefs' new starting quarterback Wednesday, capping a whirlwind day of physicals and meetings and finishing a process that began when the two sides agreed to a trade two weeks ago.
"There was no doubt in my mind this is where I wanted to be. It wasn't close," Smith said. "Everything pointed here for me, and I'm excited about it."[+] EnlargeDenny Medley/USA TODAY SportsBeing traded to the Chiefs was the best possible result for Alex Smith, who said Wednesday, "there was no doubt in my mind this is where I wanted to be. It wasn't close."
The San Francisco 49ers will receive the Chiefs' second-round pick, 34th overall, and a conditional pick in next year's draft under terms of the deal, which could not become official until the start of the new league year on Tuesday.
Coach Andy Reid also made it clear that Smith wouldn't be backing up anybody in Kansas City.
"I'm going to tell you, every position we try to create competition," Reid said, "but I'll also tell you, Alex is the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs."
The Chiefs released Matt Cassel, the starter at the beginning of last season, on Thursday after failing to find a trade partner, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Under terms of the three-year contract he signed last March, Smith is guaranteed $8.5 million for the 2013 season, although Chiefs GM John Dorsey acknowledged that he is open to the possibility of signing Smith to a new deal.
Dorsey said that he and Reid evaluated about 20 quarterbacks as they tried to upgrade the position, and they ultimately decided that Smith was a better option for the franchise going forward than a free agent or anybody available in the draft.
The Chiefs have been active in free agency, adding wide receiver Donnie Avery, tight end Anthony Fasano, defensive tackle Mike DeVito, cornerback Dunta Robinson and backup quarterback Chase Daniel, but none of the moves has been watched as closely as the trade for Smith.
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Smith had eight up-and-down years with the 49ers but thrived under coach Jim Harbaugh. He went 13-3 as the starter two seasons ago and was 6-2 midway through this past season, completing 18 of 19 passes with three touchdowns in a Monday night win over Arizona on Oct. 29.
He then sustained a concussion in the second quarter of a 24-24 tie against St. Louis on Nov. 11, saying later he threw a touchdown pass with blurry vision. Smith sat out the next game, Colin Kaepernick dazzled in his debut as an NFL starter -- and Smith never started again.
Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and Smith became expendable.
"I just felt like I was getting better and better and, you know, winning games," Smith said. "I felt like I didn't do anything to lose my job other than get a concussion.
"It was tough," he said, "but you know, you get through it. You move on. It wasn't my decision. I can sit there and dwell on it, you know, and pout, or I can move on and get ready for my next opportunity. Those were my two choices, and for me, it was an easy decision."
Smith said he had a couple of meetings with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke during the offseason, and he made it clear that he did not want to stick around as a backup.
"I wasn't going to get released," Smith said, "and options were kind of laid out and for me, and without a doubt, the Chiefs were the team I wanted to be with, even before they were an option. I thought there was an opportunity there, and there was."
Smith said he continually conveyed his desire to Baalke, but he acknowledged that the decision was out of his hands. When Baalke called him two weeks ago to let him know that a trade had been reached, Smith started to think about turning around the franchise.
"You know what's here," he said. "You know the nucleus, what it can be. The players, it starts there. It starts in the locker room, and the coaching staff, those two things. The direction they've headed, the guys they brought in, all of that is exciting."
Smith has even played a part in luring other free agents.
Avery and Fasano both said that playing in an offense with Smith was one of the reasons they were interested in signing with the Chiefs, and they'll all be tasked with overhauling an offense that was last in the NFL in passing yards and touchdown throws last season.
"It definitely mattered," Avery said. "I know Alex is a good quarterback. I played against him when I was in St. Louis, so I know what he can do."
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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