SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith spoke Thursday to the media for the first time since he received word from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh that Colin Kaepernick is the team's starting quarterback.
"I mean, it sucks," Smith said. "I don't know what else to say."
Did Jim tell the two of you together?
Were you prepared for it?
"Yeah. I mean, for sure. I knew based off of the last couple weeks, the way things had gone, didn't know what was going to happen but I knew it was a possibility."
Is there anything you can say as far as stating your case?
"Well, I mean, I don't think talk is the place to do it. You state your case with your play, and I felt I did that. I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion."
Do you think this scenario would've played out two years ago, just given the attention concussions have gotten?
"I don't know. Ultimately, the doctors and me had to make that decision. I think it's a good thing that more and more is coming out about it (concussions). I don't think that's a bad thing."
You don't regret telling them you had the symptoms?
"No, I'm not looking back on that -- no, no."
Do you think this will have a stifling effect on other players coming forward?
"I don't know. It's a good question. I'm not sure. I mean, that's kind of the deal with all injuries. The thing with the concussions and the brain, I think we're going to be finding out a lot more in the years to come."
You've been through so many ups and downs in your career, how does this compare to some of the other bad moments?
"Yeah, those are all in the past. For this one, you're in it right now. This is such a great team, such a great group of guys in this locker room. There's something special going on. Yeah, it's a tough pill to swallow, for sure."
Is there any resentment to coach for making that decision?
"No resentment. No, I don't get make those decisions. That's what he gets paid to do. He's the head coach. I play football. That's what I'm going to continue to do. Continue to get ready and make the most of my next opportunity."
Are you believer in the adage that you don't lose your starting job through an injury?
"That's not something I really think about. This game is about opportunities and making the most of them, for each and every one of us and as a team, as a whole. No."
Do you think you'll be given another opportunity this year?
"I have no ideal. All I can do is just prepare and be ready."
Does it make it easier or more difficult to think that the last full game you played, you were NFC Offensive Player of the Week?
"Yeah, it's tough. That's why I said you kind of state your case with your play, and I felt like I'd done that. So in that sense, it is tough."
In the past, there have been other coaches who've said, 'There's a better quarterback for the job.' The fact that's Harbaugh, and you respect his quarterback evaluation so much, does it sting even more because he's saying, 'There's another quarterback we think is better'?
"I don't know about that. It stings the most because I really feel like there's something special going on here. You sacrifice and you invest so much time. Like I said, I really feel like I hadn't done anything but get a concussion to really to facilitate this. I feel like I was playing good football."
Some people want to see you angry on the sideline. Obviously, the cameras are on your the whole time?
"Like I said, you're in the middle of it right now. Just found out a couple of days ago. So, I mean, it sucks, to be honest."
Did you get an explanation about this?
"Oh, yeah. We sat down in there and talked. It wasn't just a one-sentence thing. For sure. He explained where he was coming from and felt like it was a difficult situation but he wanted to go in this direction."