Regardless of the narrative Jim Harbaugh chooses to foist upon us, the San Francisco 49ers were -- at the very least -- interested in replacing Alex Smith with Peyton Manning at quarterback this offseason.
From Smith's perspective, that had to sting. He acknowledged as much Thursday, telling Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee that the drama of the Manning sweepstakes in March was "a little awkward."
"Certainly there are a lot of forms of motivation," said Smith, who signed a three-year deal with the 49ers after Manning agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos. "I guess that's there a little bit as far as motivation."
Not to pummel a cadaverous horse here, but Smith's comments makes Harbaugh's denials about Manning and his subsequent media lash-out even more ridiculous. Smith and Manning share the same agent in Tom Condon. Smith was plugged in here. He knew his job was hanging in the balance.
In the end, Smith stayed in San Francisco, Manning might or might not do his thing in Denver, and everybody will move on as if nothing happened.
Last season, Smith showed he wasn't just another first-round bust. He now gets the fresh motivator of proving he's nobody's consolation prize.