Unsolicited, Jim Harbaugh made his first direct comments about the 49ers' pursuit of Peyton Manning Wednesday.
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His words came over two months after Manning elected to sign with the Denver Broncos, and have re-opened the debate of the extent to which the 49ers pursued Manning.
Following Harbaugh's comments, Alex Smith was left to answer questions from the media.
Q: Can you help us understand why Harbaugh brought up the whole Peyton Manning thing?
Smith: No idea. It's a better question for him. For me, it's always been the same story. He's been up-front. It's been the same thing we talked about when I re-signed. He's been up front from the beginning, constantly being in talks with me and negotiating with me and that was never off the table and it was simply a fact that, going to have to compete with somebody, but I earned the right to compete for the job. This was my job to compete for. He was always up front with me through the entire process.
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Q: He said no scenario in which Alex Smith wasn't going to be part of the 49ers. What about for you?
Smith: "From the beginning, that was the scenario. They've were up-front with me. Coach Harbaugh from the day I've been here, has been completely honest, both He and Trent (Baalke), from the beginning. From a month prior with all the Peyton Manning stuff, they were negotiating with me to come back and new contract. When that arised, they were honest. They came over and talked to me. Potentially, compete for the job. That's exactly what they told Peyton. For me, it was always there."
Q: Would you have wanted that scenario. If Peyton Manning were here. .
Smith: "I certainly felt like this was my job to compete for, no question. I felt like we accomplished last year that I deserved that."
Q: Was going to Miami a reaction to the Peyton thing?
Smith: "I think that was more of the, I mean, that's what free agency is. This was my first time through a little bit of it. Obviously, you play that business side. That's something I'm very comfortable with or had done a lot. . . But, yeah, that's part of it. You go around and see the teams and weigh your options. You don't know what those options are until you look at them sometimes. For me, this was always the place. I've always said that, this was always the place. Certain things happen all of a sudden, you play that game a little bit."
Q: Are you surprised we're still talking about this?
Smith: "Yeah, a little bit. A little surprised . . it's the offseason."
Q: Did you know when they went the see Peyton that they were going to do it?
Smith: "I knew they were going to look at him, yes. Through the whole process, I knew they were going to see him and check him out and do the due dilligence, whatever you want to call it."
The Cam Newton thing got a lot of coverage. .
Smith: "It did. . . If there's a good thing that came from all the drama that kind of came of it, hopefully people didn't catch on to the fact that we let out a team secret that around here we don't really care about individual stats. If I can say anything, that's the one good thing. Hopefully, it kind of covered that up."