Around the NFC West: Making his mark

Alex Smith's name, already prominent in various NFL trade reports, surfaced in an unexpected place recently.

A Boston Globe review of athletes' charitable foundations lauded Smith's for its admirably low overhead.

Around the NFC West: Feb. 27, 2013

"Some athletes are almost as good at bringing attention -- and money -- to important causes as they are at their sports," the Globe wrote. "A nonprofit founded by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, for instance, raised $839,244 between 2008 and 2010 and spent 91 percent of the funds on scholarships and grants to help foster teens attend college and transition to adulthood."

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle followed up this report with a more detailed look at the work Smith's foundation is doing. Turns out Smith's family, including his mother and sister, have worked for the foundation without compensation. According to Branch, the foundation has covered all associated expenses for about 30 foster teens to attend San Diego State University.

"Smith has done more than write checks," Branch wrote. "He's traveled to Washington, D.C., testified before a state Senate subcommittee in Sacramento, co-written editorials and attended national conferences to lobby for changes in the child-welfare system. He’s also taken an active role with the students at SDSU. He’s met with them one-on-one at the end of semesters to get updated on their progress and also hosted events ranging from bowling to barbecues."

We've known for some time that Smith seems like a good guy off the field. You might recall the 2012 story about Smith assisting with the search for a missing child, for example.

While no team is going to trade for Smith based on his off-field achievements, teams considering him as an option can be pretty certain they would be getting a first-rate individual, not just a quarterback with a 19-5-1 starting record over the past two seasons.