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Alex Smith: Benching by San Francisco 49ers is 'tough'

NEW ORLEANS -- Even if he doesn't play a down on Sunday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith remains an intriguing storyline heading into Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens.

With young Colin Kaepernick commanding a dense crowd of reporters during Tuesday's Media Day circus, Smith -- from another corner of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome -- patiently answered questions about the starting quarterback role he lost midseason.

"I'm not going to lie about any of that," Smith told reporters. "(It has been) tough at times for sure, tough to accept, tough to watch, but we're in the Super Bowl, and this has been an amazing experience. It's a great team, I love being a part of it. I have said it before, it's bittersweet a little bit, but still, it's been a great thing to be a part of."

Smith acknowledged he worried his job was in hot water after suffering a concussion in November. That's understandable. Multiple 49ers players have talked this week about watching Kaepernick in practice, sensing something special about the second-year passer from early on.

"I knew there was an opportunity there, no question," Smith said. "You're letting the next guy step in and get an opportunity. I fully knew what Colin was potentially capable of. He came in and made the most of it. It's the nature of sports."

An arguably cruel nature, but the way Smith has handled it all this season says a lot about the quarterback.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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