Greg Roman is treating the quarterback of this week’s preseason opponent just like any other matchup.
“He’s a nameless, faceless opponent,” the 49ers offensive coordinator said in a dry tone.
Roman smirked and then followed up with an honest assessment of Alex Smith, San Francisco’s former first-round pick and new starting signal-caller for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Loved working with Alex,” Roman said. “I’m very happy for Alex and his success and very appreciative of all the contributions he made while as a 49er.”
Smith led the Roman-coached offense to the NFC Championship in 2011 and followed it up the next season by keeping San Francisco atop the NFC West standings. Smith, however, suffered a concussion in a tie to the St. Louis Rams and never regained his starting role.
“I wish him nothing but the best,” Roman said of Smith. “He’s a fine, fine competitor and quarterback.”
Smith still is held in high regard by his former teammates. Many of them haven’t overblown up the preseason matchup; they have other things on their mind.
“The one thing I have thought about is how much hotter it’s going to be,” third-year offensive lineman
Kilgore said he keeps in touch with Smith on a personal level, but hasn’t been able to watch film of Smith’s preseason debut in a Chiefs uniform.
Kilgore and the rest of the 49ers will treat the upcoming preseason matchup the same as any other game, including the postgame scene.
“It’s going to be one of those deals where you see a friend and just like any other team, you congratulate him and wish him luck for the season,” Kilgore said. “I know he’ll do well anywhere he goes. We’ve got a quarterback now that will do well for himself, too.”
"Alex gets touched right?" the outside linebacker said when asked about facing his old quarterback for the first time as an opponent.
But would Smith make a gentle effort?
"I'll just make the play... It's really just another game. Alex was here, did a good job and now he's in Kansas City."