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Alex Smith 'itching to play' for 49ers, teammate says

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh appears in no rush to name a starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams. That awkward dynamic provides ample time for his players to talk.

Offensive tackle Joe Staley told KGMZ-FM in San Francisco on Tuesday that veteran Alex Smith, despite his silence, desperately desires his job back after Colin Kaepernick's two-game run under center.

"He wants to play. He made his feelings known yesterday with the comments that he made. He's itching to play, and he feels he should be out there, but it's the coach's decision," Staley said, via "That's the way he's handling it. ... I know it's eating him up inside, but I know Alex, the kind of man he is, the kind of character he has, and he wants to see the team win. But he wants to be out there on the field."

Breer: A position of strength

Colin Kaepernick is the latest to benefit from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's knack for nurturing QBs, Albert Breer says. **More ...**

Harbaugh says there's no divide on his team -- and he might be right -- but both quarterbacks want to play. Smith has every right to believe he's earned the chance to keep his job, but that's just half equation. Harbaugh's Super Bowl window is open, and he's going to play the guy he believes can take them there.

Feelings will be hurt.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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