NFL: Week 7

49ers’ Smith starts over

QB regains job after Hill benched

Associated Press / October 27, 2009

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Alex Smith is getting a big chance to resurrect his career. All but forgotten, the former No. 1 overall pick is the San Francisco 49ers’ new starting quarterback - again.

“I don’t know if I’d say surprised. I don’t know if I was anticipating it, either,’’ Smith said yesterday after getting the news from coach Mike Singletary. “It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for; happy.’’

Singletary made the announcement yesterday after also sitting down with Shaun Hill, who was benched after the first half of the Niners’ 24-21 loss at Houston on Sunday.

Smith, who hadn’t played in nearly two years, came in and gave the offense a much-needed jolt of energy and efficiency, and he nearly led San Francisco (3-3) back from a 21-0 deficit.

“As far as will Shaun Hill be back and all this other stuff, we’re not going to be a flavor-of-the-month kind of thing where, ‘Let’s see, this guy will be this week, this guy will be next week,’ ’’ Singletary said. “I wanted to make the decision based upon who I feel gives us the best chance.’’

Smith completed his first six passes and finished 15 of 22 for 206 yards and three touchdown passes to tight end Vernon Davis. Davis is the first 49er since Terrell Owens in 2001 to have three TD catches in a game. Smith’s start at Indianapolis Sunday will be his first start since Nov. 12, 2007.

Smith, the No. 1 draft pick out of Utah in 2005, missed last season after injuring his surgically repaired throwing shoulder three days before the season opener.

Johnson in hot water
Chiefs running back Larry Johnson used a gay slur for the second time in as many days yesterday, the Kansas City Star reported on its website.

Johnson refused to speak with reporters, a day after the Chiefs’ 37-7 loss to the Chargers. Sitting in front of his locker, he turned away and muttered the slur in telling reporters to get “out of here,’’ according to the Star.

On Sunday, Johnson belittled rookie head coach Todd Haley on Twitter in a series of posts that also included the same gay slur. Haley said yesterday the Chiefs were looking into “a couple of situations’’ involving Johnson, but declined further comment. Asked about the slurs, he said the team was “gathering facts.’’

One tweet read: “My father got more creditentials than most of these pro coaches.’’ That was followed by: “My father played for the coach from “rememeber the titans’’. Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn.’’

Haley, hired earlier this year to replace the fired Herm Edwards, did not play high school or college football and attended college on a golf scholarship.

Passing grades?
Three struggling teams can’t quite decide what to do about their quarterback problems. Panthers coach John Fox acknowledged he’s contemplating benching quarterback Jake Delhomme in favor of either Matt Moore or A.J. Feeley after another abysmal performance Sunday left Carolina 2-4 and Delhomme with an NFL-high 13 interceptions. Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he hasn’t decided who will start Sunday against Jacksonville. Fisher has stuck with Kerry Collins over Vince Young this season in the Titans’ 0-6 start. The team has lost eight straight games dating to last season when they sprinted out to a 10-0 start as part of the NFL’s best mark at 13-3. In Cleveland, coach Eric Mangini said he has no plans to bench Derek Anderson, the NFL’s lowest-rated quarterback, for Brady Quinn or anyone else. Anderson has completed just 23 of 70 passes in the past three games and came out of Sunday’s 31-3 loss to Green Bay with an overall 40.6 rating - nearly seven points behind the second-lowest QB, Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell. Mangini said his decision to stick with Anderson is not because the team is trying to avoid paying Quinn $11 million he would earn this season if he plays in 70 percent of the team’s offensive snaps . . . In Buffalo, backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the starter for one more week, and maybe longer. The team announced Trent Edwards will miss his second straight game since suffering a concussion.

Big deal for Ware
Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware and the Dallas Cowboys agreed on a contract extension, a $78 million, six-year deal through the 2015 season that guarantees him $40 million . . . The Jets placed running back-kick returner Leon Washington on season-ending injured reserve, a day after suffering a broken right leg in a win over the Raiders . . . Will Allen’s season-ending knee injury will force the Dolphins to go with two rookie cornerbacks beginning Sunday against the Jets. Allen will be replaced in the lineup by 2009 first-round draft pick Vontae Davis. Second-round pick Sean Smith has been starting opposite Allen . . . Texans receiver Andre Johnson has a bruised lung and will be listed as day to day this week as Houston prepares to play the Bills Sunday . . . Former Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards has been charged with misdemeanor assault over accusations he punched a friend of NBA star LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub, an incident that prompted his trade to the Jets.

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