NFL

Alex Smith blasts 49ers culture during his first six seasons

Michael Dixon
Written by Michael Dixon

The San Francisco 49ers’ front office has come under fire in the years since the acrimonious split between the organization and former coach Jim Harbaugh. One man who was there for six years before Harbaugh’s arrival was current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. In an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Smith teed off on his former organization.

“I knew how dysfunctional that the work environment that I was in at the time was,” Smith said. “The culture at the time in the building in those first six years for me, I knew that it was really dysfunctional. I knew that this wasn’t the way that successful places operated. But when you’re a young QB, it’s hard to vocalize that. It’s hard to stand up and say that. It’s hard to make the change. Because at that point, I don’t know what the right thing totally looks like at the NFL level, because I hadn’t been around it. But I did know that the situation I was in was not the right way.”

The results showed on the field. San Francisco was 2-14 in the year before drafting Smith, then went 37-59 in his first six years. In the two full years and one week since Harbaugh’s departure, the 49ers sit at 7-26. Some of the names and faces have changed in the front office since the years referenced by Smith. But others, namely CEO Jed York, remain.

If you’re a fan of the team, you can only hope that lessons have been learned and that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have the ship pointed in the right direction. Because as Smith detailed, the objective reasons to be optimistic are few and far between.

About the author

Michael Dixon

Michael Dixon

Bay Area born and raised, I have extensive experience in both the print and online worlds. There are few things in this world I love doing more than talking sports.