In a recent interview with the 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, Harbaugh had some interesting comments when the subject of the niners’ pursuing former free agent Peyton Manning came up.
“It’s an erroneous perception that we were flirting with Peyton Manning,” Harbaugh said. “I keep hearing that over and over again. It’s silly, and it’s untrue. It’s phony. Even the perception that we were pursuing him … we were evaluating him.”
Everyone that believes that stand on your head… It’s obvious that this little attempt of kicking the event under the rug was all because Harbuagh wanted to solidify Alex Smith’s role. In case you don’t remember, earlier this off-season, Alex Smith had a little dispute with the niners’ in which he was unhappy with the original deal offered and even more upset at the fact that the team was said to be pursing free-agent Peyton Manning. After all was said and done, Smith got his money and the 49ers backed off of Manning. All was well in San Francisco… Right?
Ever since that contract dispute, people have been questioning if the 49ers are truly committed to Smith. The main argument that the niners’ aren’t commited to Smith is the pursuit of Peyton Manning. The former Colt was the center of attention for this off-seasons free agent period. It seemed like everyone wanted a look at Manning, especially teams that didn’t have a dignified franchise quarterback. So why were the 49ers spotted watching Manning work out at Duke? For the same reason the Jaguars, Dolphins and other teams did, Manning would improve their team at the quarterback position. Sorry Alex Smith, but any team would put you on the bench to start a future hall of famer who shows the will to continue winning.
It seems that Smith thinks that he single handedly led his team to the NFC Championship game. Alex Smith finished 19th in passing yards for 2011 and 9th in QB Rating. Those aren’t exactly big money stats… Smith, your defense didn’t allow a rushing touchdown through 14 games! That’s unheard of! Take away your elite defense, and you probably wouldn’t have even been in the playoffs. But, put Peyton Manning in your place with that elite defense, and the 49ers would have probably have been hoisting high the Lombardi Trophy back in February. So the niners’ pursuing Peyton Manning wasn’t betrayal, it just made since.
To say the least, it was a bit of a mess, and now it’s trying to be swept under the rug by Harbaugh. It’s just not that easy, nobodies fooled by this failed attempt to make Smith feel like he’s wanted. Harbaugh would have loved to have Manning on his team, but he has had to settle for Smith. I understand that you want Alex Smith to feel confident in his role, but throwing out lies to the media isn’t the answer. He needs to get out there and get ready for the upcoming season. Let Smith show HIM that he deserves the respect he’s asking for.