|Smith said Harbaugh's pursuit of Manning will add motivation. (Getty Images)|
No matter what he's said in the past, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith had to be a little chapped that Jim Harbaugh seemingly went after Peyton Manning in the middle of the now-Broncos quarterback's free agency bonanza (Harbaugh, by the way, says he wasn't doing anything but evaluating, and you'd better NOT call him a liar).
In fact, after Smith signed a three-year deal worth $8 million per season in March, this was what Harbaugh said: "It's been good -- strong relationship, as always. It's a very strong relationship."
Meanwhile, Smith was saying in March that he wasn't offended by the 49ers exploration of Manning and said he would have relished a chance to compete against Manning for the starting quarterback spot (easier, of course, to say that now there's no chance of that happening).
But now Smith is admitting that things were a bit tense between the team and him. Smith called it “a little awkward,” though he also said he would get some extra mileage out of the Manning sweepstakes.
"Certainly there are a lot of forms of motivation,” Smith told the Sacramento Bee. "I guess that's there a little bit as far as motivation."
At this point, the Manning issue probably doesn't sting Smith as much as it might have at one point. But I'm still amazed that Harbaugh doesn't think he was pursuing Manning by, you know, playing catch with him.
Either way, even with their minor differences, at least Smith and Harbaugh likely can agree on the following: it's better to be a winner, like Smith last year, than to be a 300-yard passer who doesn't win very much.
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