<
>

Friendly competition, fresh start for 49ers' Smith

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Recently re-signed 49ers quarterback Alex Smith sounded quite happy and at peace with his decision to stay in San Francisco. That was the strong impression Smith left during a recently completed conference call with reporters who cover the team.

The 49ers have told Smith he'll get a chance to compete for the starting job. Smith wasn't lying when he said he expected this to be a friendly competition. His primary competition for the job, Shaun Hill, served as a groomsman in Smith's wedding Feb. 21 in the Maldives.

Smith sounded relaxed and comfortable in discussing his situation with the 49ers. He also said his surgically repaired shoulder has progressed enough for him to begin competing for the job at the team's first minicamp, although the team has not cleared him yet.

Smith said he's making 50 to 80 throws per workout several times each week. He said he has "unfinished business" in San Francisco and is looking forward to proving to himself, the organization, teammate and fans that he can become a productive NFL quarterback.

Smith said he appreciates having a fresh start under a new head coach. He said there's a "fresh attitude" under Mike Singletary. Smith also said he's much more mature now than he was as a rookie and therefore better prepared to handle the job. He also said the new offense uses some of the same terminology as the Norv Turner offense while sharing concepts with that and other recent 49ers offenses.