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49ers backup Alex Smith says it's tough to sit

Wednesday - 1/30/2013, 3:56am  ET

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed speaks during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Pat Semansky)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Colin Kaepernick's image filled the Superdome scoreboard, his ears tucked into his red 49ers hat just so, as he sat at one of the seats reserved for the biggest personalities and most important players at Super Bowl media day.

He is, after all, San Francisco's starting quarterback.

About 50 yards away, not in one of those seats set aside for starters, stood Alex Smith, Kaepernick's backup. Smith was not shown on the scoreboard.

Question after question came at Smith, but instead of being about how to beat the Ravens or what it might feel like to win a championship, most concerned his transition from starter to reserve in this, ironically, his best season in the NFL. NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. A top-of-the-league passer rating. One game when he completed 18 of 19 passes. But then came a concussion in one game, sitting out as a precaution in the next -- and that was that. The job became Kaepernick's for good.

"I'm not going to lie about any of that," Smith said Tuesday at the Superdome. "Tough at times, for sure, tough to accept, tough to watch."

And then he added: "But we're in the Super Bowl."

About 15 minutes later, the guy who took his spot in the lineup, was asked whether he feels bad at all for Smith.

"I mean, it's a business," Kaepernick replied. "You have to do whatever you can to try to be successful."


SEMI-CANDID HARBAUGH: Jim Harbaugh insists he was at his fittest, his best during his early days as a head coach at the University of San Diego.

Even if he's now got his San Francisco team playing for the franchise's sixth championship in his second season as an NFL head coach.

It hasn't been that long. And he hasn't changed much since spending the 2004-06 seasons at San Diego.

"In a lot of ways, yes, but the thing I regret now is that I'm at the low point of my manhood, my physical fitness," Harbaugh said Tuesday. "I was in a lot better shape when I was coaching at USD."

So, what are his "guilty pleasures" when it comes to treating himself to a nice meal? Barbecue?

Harbaugh played along -- sort of. This is the guy who said he quit chewing tobacco and drinking diet sodas after undergoing a procedure in November for an irregular heartbeat. This is the guy with three young children and a baby boy, Jack, born back in early September.

"What's ever there, I usually wind up eating," he said, chuckling. "Is that relevant to what we're trying to accomplish this week? "


WHAT SACK? Jim Harbaugh doesn't remember Ray Lewis' first career sack -- on him -- or so the 49ers coach claims.

"I don't remember that sack," the 49ers coach said. "I do remember being a teammate of Ray's in 1998. I feel that Ray was one of the greatest players to ever play in the National Football League. He's a man I truly respect. He's a fine person and he's a true professional."


I LOVE NY/NJ? NOT! -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco apologized for his word selection in criticizing the NFL's decision to hold next year's Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium at a cold-weather site.

On Monday, Flacco was asked about the game being played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

"I think it's retarded. I probably shouldn't say that. I think it's stupid," he said.

On Tuesday, he was contrite.

"Obviously, it was a poor choice of words," he said. "At home, I have a close relationship with Special Olympics. I didn't mean to offend anyone."

Flacco would like nothing more than to return to the Super Bowl next year, even if it might be in freezing conditions for the first time. It's in his home state to boot.

The fifth-year pro from Audubon, N.J., preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, is not a fan of playing the next big game in East Rutherford.

"I think it's obvious reasons," Flacco said. "They've done it the way they've been doing it for 47 years. There's a lot that goes into this game, more than just playing the game: It's about the fans and it's about the players that played for the right to get there. There are a lot of things that go into it and it's just kind of a crazy decision, I believe."


NFL HONORS: Celebrity presenters for "NFL Honors," the TV show featuring The Associated Press awards, will include Steve Carell and Channing Tatum.

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