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Alex Smith cleared for 49ers' non-contact drills

Alex Smith has taken a step toward suiting up in the San Francisco 49ers' Monday night game against the Chicago Bears.



A four-part series on player health and safety with reporter Andrea Kremer aired Tuesday through Friday on NFL Network:

Tuesday: Football's safety issues
Wednesday: Virginia Tech's helmet technology, The "Hit System"
Thursday: Inside Darrelle Revis' rehab
Friday: The lack of common safety standards in youth football

» For more information on player health and safety, visit NFLEvolution.com.

The quarterback practiced Wednesday in a black non-contact jersey, according to The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows.

"Contact is kind of like the final straw," Smith said, via The Bee. "But I was able to go out there today, which was a little redundant seeing as how we don't get hit in practice. Yeah, felt good out there."

Smith suffered a concussion against the St. Louis Rams last week and must pass a series of tests before being cleared to play. Non-contact practice is a good first step to playing Monday.

"Right now, it looks like Alex will be our quarterback for sure," tight end Vernon Davis said, via The Associated Press. "I would think so. With all those concussions, you can't really tell, but he was out there and threw the ball around a little bit."

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is doubtful after being concussed himself last week. It doesn't look like he'll play. So the 49ers will have a distinct advantage in "Monday Night Football" with their No. 1 quarterback if the Bears are without theirs.

(How far we've come when Alex Smith is considered a distinct advantage.)

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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