KANSAS CITY, Mo. --He's been a nerd, a savant, a jewel, a hermit, a genius, a savior, a goat, apariah, a phoenix, a victim, a spare part, and a savioragain.
Yet, when you peel away all the layers, the subplotsand the soap operatics, Alex Smith, the new starting quarterback of the KansasCity Chiefs, is the same skinny kid from San Diego he was a decade ago. It'severything around him that's gone bonkers.
As ahigh-schooler, his dad had tried to steer him away from football. At Utah, hewas elevated to a starting role because of an injury and never let it go.During eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Smith cycled through threehead coaches, seven offensive coordinators and six quarterbackcoaches.
Just as his NFL career was finally taking off, helost his starting role because of an injury and ... never got itback.
"When you're a young guy coming in and playingearly, I dwelled on it too much, I let it affect my play too much," saidSmith, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Dr...