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'Camp Alex' meant to show QB Smith's commitment to 49ers

Alex Smith says he "absolutely" expects to be the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback next season, although he remains a free agent.

The embattled signal-caller told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on Thursday that he decided soon after the lockout began that he wanted to return to the 49ers next season. He shared his decision with new coach Jim Harbaugh when he picked up a playbook April 29, during a brief break in the work stoppage.

He said his intentions should be clear following an informal, four-day minicamp at San Jose State University that teammates dubbed "Camp Alex." More than two dozen 49ers participated, most of them offensive players.

"I think this speaks for itself," Smith said.

The seventh-year pro, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, acknowledged he has plenty work left to do.

"I got more to prove than ever," Smith said. "For myself, for my teammates, for everyone, I just think I know I can play this game at a high level. And I haven't done it consistently yet. I'm determined to do so."

He organized the workouts, he said, because the 49ers are "behind the eight ball. Any team that's had turnover and new systems going in is at a clear disadvantage the longer this goes. The real motivation was to play catchup as much as we can."

Smith also said Thursday that his perceived feud with Michael Crabtree was "blown out of proportion" and that he called the wide receiver to apologize and clear the air. He said their relationship is fine and they're working to find a rhythm on the field that has never developed.

The workouts included weightlifting, film study and on-field practices.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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