There were a couple of topics of conversation in the 49ers open locker room on Monday, but none more important than coach Singletary’s decision to name Alex Smith as the team’s starting quarterback.
According to starting left tackle Joe Staley, the 49ers players didn’t find out about the decision to swap signal callers on Sunday until Smith greeted them in the huddle with nothing more than a simple, “Let’s Go!”
There wasn’t much hoopla about the permanent change on Monday, just players looking to get back to the team’s winning ways.
“I’m excited for him, but it doesn’t change what we’re going to do on offense,” Staley said.
For Smith personally, the news will not change the way he’s carried himself either.
“I was just as proud of myself three days ago as I am today,” said the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. “I don’t think anything’s changed because I went out there and played. I’m the same player I was two weeks ago as I am today. I just continue to work at it and get better. With the ups and downs of this game a lot gets made of it, but I just keep playing.”
The man, who Smith’s replacing, also spoke with the media on Monday. And while it may not have been the decision he was looking for, Shaun Hill answered every question like the stand-up individual that he is.
Hill, who was a groomsman at Smith’s offseason wedding, said the relationship between the 49ers top-two quarterbacks will not change because of Monday’s news.
“This is a tough business,” Hill explained. “You’re very fortunate to find friends in this league. The business part of this league won’t change that friendship.”
The two found out about Singletary’s decision this morning when he called them in separately to discuss his reasoning.
“I don’t know if I’d say surprised, but I don’t know if I was anticipating it either,” Smith said.
Earlier in the day, Singletary said the time on the bench might have done Smith some good. But Smith has been patiently waiting to play for quite some time.
“I’ve been out for two years, so I don’t know if I was getting any hungrier.”
Smith has missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries and has never been able to build off his 2006 season where he led the team to a 7-9 record and became the first 49ers quarterback to take every snap from scrimmage in a single-season.
“I’ve always wanted to play this game at a high level. Every time I step on the field, I try to do that,” Smith explained. “That’s always been the goal, try to help this team win and that’s never going to change.”
Vernon Thanks Joseph Luna
Vernon Davis was another popular topic of conversation on Monday.
Davis was asked about the quarterback change and his three-touchdown performance against the Texans, but all the 49ers tight end wanted to talk about was his inspiration for his career-day on Sunday.
As a player who prides himself on being prepared emotionally and physically for every game, Davis was taken back by a meeting he had with Joseph Luna, a 13-year-old cancer survivor, who met Davis at the lobby of the team hotel on Saturday.
Luna and his family met up with Davis again before the start of Sunday’s game, and Davis showed Joseph that he was wearing the bracelet Luna had given him the day before.
“It was good to see him on the field,” Davis said of seeing Joseph before the game. “I have to thank Joseph for inspiring me. I think he’s a great kid and I really enjoyed the time we shared.”
Davis was still wearing Luna’s bracelet in the locker room on Monday and plans to keep it close by forever.
“Joseph and his family really touched me,” Davis revealed. “I want to pay tribute and honor his courage. He helped me play great ball on Sunday, so I owe him a lot for that.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Joe Staley, Shaun Hill, Vernon Davis
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