Another day, another NFL QB put on injured reserve.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Alex Smith’s season is over with another shoulder injury. The high-priced quarterback’s short career with the San Francisco 49ers is probably finished as well.
The 49ers put Smith on injured reserve Wednesday with a broken bone in his right shoulder, though coach Mike Nolan claimed to know little about the injury. Smith, the top pick in the 2005 draft, probably will require more surgery, but Nolan provided no specifics.
“I feel sorry for him,” said running back Frank Gore, a third-round pick in Smith’s draft. “He was a great teammate and worked hard. I just hope the best for him, and hope he gets well.”
After paying Smith more than $31 million during his four years with the 49ers, the bleak realities of NFL salary cap life mean the club is likely to release him before next season. General manager Scot McCloughan said last week that San Francisco can’t risk paying $9 million in base salary to a backup quarterback in 2009, and Smith lost his starting job to journeyman J.T. O’Sullivan in training camp.
“I’m not going to answer any hypothetical questions about the future,” said Nolan, who had an embarrassing public spat with Smith last year over the severity of the quarterback’s shoulder injury. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. My focus right now is on [Sunday's game against] Seattle.”
Smith had surgery on his shoulder in December to repair three torn ligaments, the product of a separated shoulder from a game in late September 2007. He appeared to be at full strength in training camp, but experienced severe pain in his shoulder last Friday while making a long throw during practice.
If Smith is released after 2008, and the Miami Dolphins continue their hopeless ways at QB, I wouldn’t be surpised if this former number one pick comes to South Florida to continue his career.
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