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At last: Davis excited to see Smith become leader for 49ers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has undergone a transformation during the lengthy NFL lockout, according to tight end Vernon Davis.

This version of Smith, which has been apparent at the 49ers' player-led workouts, is the one San Francisco should have seen all along, Davis said Tuesday night on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's "Chronicle Live" show.

"He's more of a leader than he's ever been at this point," Davis said. "I've never seen Alex like this, 'taking charge' is what I call it. It's Alex taking charge. He's in the classroom walking us through everything, talking about all the plays. He's taking all the snaps. And he's really being a leader out there.

"That's what Alex should've been doing. But it takes time for some guys to get to where you need to be."

That 20 of the 49ers' offensive players came to San Jose for Tuesday's workout session is a testament to Smith's hard work and leadership.

"He'll send out a mass text and tell us where he wants us, what time," Davis said. "I've never seen Alex like this. He really cares about his career, and he knows he's on his last straw, so he has to be exact and precise."

Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick, technically isn't under contract with the 49ers, but both sides expect to strike a deal once the lockout ends. Smith is 19-31 in 50 starts over six seasons in San Francisco, and he has thrown 51 touchdown passes and 53 interceptions.

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