Alex Smith: 'I wasn't going to come out'

In his return from a separated throwing shoulder, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith played in pain throughout San Francisco's 31-10 loss Sunday, and his shoulder got loose in its socket again after he took some big hits early in the game. Smith continued to play to the end, and here he talks about the status of his shoulder and his determination to remain in the huddle and play through the pain.

On the status of his throwing shoulder: "I did get X-rayed after (the game). It came back negative as far as the separation goes; it's the same as it has been. I took the shot on the sideline and then a couple plays later hit the sack, fumble. That's when it really started to feel really loose. Then once I taped it down on the sideline it felt better, as far as that looseness goes."

On his game performance: "Early on, it was probably a lot of things. First of all, coming back after four weeks. The throwing arm didn't feel accurate enough the first half, I left plays out there. There were a couple big opportunities on third downs which really changed the game. And I missed throws. Like I said, when it was taped down, it felt better in the second half, as far as accuracy went. I felt more comfortable with it, even though the pain was worse. It felt better as far as throwing the ball and hitting me targets."

On whether the looseness of the collarbone will go away in time: "Yeah in time, that's the thing. It's just a matter of pain and dealing with it. There was going to be some of that at the beginning of the game anyway. You take that one dumb shot on the sideline, it was avoidable. Then the next one, I don't think that really helped it. I felt more comfortable with it in the second half as far as hitting my targets."

On concern of re-injuring his shoulder: "That was my only concern talking to doctors and if they feel there's a chance it could do anything severe, then it's obviously not a toughness issue, it's more being smart and doing what's best. They tested it out and said those ligaments were still secure. It's just a matter of dealing with the pain. I took the reps all week. It wouldn't be fair to this team (to come out of the game) and it wouldn't be fair to Trent (Dilfer). The first sign of being uncomfortable, I wasn't going to come out. I was determined to stay in there. You know it's not always going to be easy. I think this team has a long road ahead, but we have to climb our way out. It's going to take some toughness, it's going to take some character."

On coming out of the game: "I was not going to come out of there, once I knew it wasn't going to get any worse. It's just a matter of pain and I was determined to stay in that huddle. I wasn't going to come out."

On whether he feels as the leader of this tem he needs to be tough and stay in there: "It's a fine line if your going to be productive or not. I think that the first half was probably a combination of things, with the shoulder and also not playing in four weeks, and taking reps this week. Coming back, you're going to have a little bit of that. There was a much different feeling by the end of the game as far as confidence and me hitting the spots. Yeah, if you can stay in there and be productive and do your job then I think yes, absolutely. As a quarterback, as a guy who's going to be in there taking the snaps you're going to get hit. I think it is important."

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