Alex Smith steps onto the field at Arrowhead Stadium tonight for the first time in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform, facing the team that selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. More so than the game itself, many people are choosing to talk about just Smith vs the 49ers.
However, Smith's attention continues to be about the team, more so than any personal ties he has with the 49ers. While Alex says he's "excited" to play in tonight's game against "a bunch of guys that I got to play with for a long time," he sees the game as more of an opportunity for his current team to "go out there and execute and continue towards our goal," which includes being prepared for the Week 1 matchup in Jacksonville.
Smith describes the 49ers defense that he faced every day in practice as a "really good unit", which presents "a really good test for us", Smith said. "When you play football this long, you develop friendships that are really special and I still have a lot of close friends on that team, coaches and players included. I know every single one of them."
As for Smith's current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, he is confident that Alex will seize the moment and make the most of his opportunity in tonight's game.
"I think he'll handle it," coach Reid said. "He's going to know a lot of people obviously, so there will be that part of it. Guys that he hasn't seen in a few months. Once it's all said and done, it's playing the game. I think he'll handle that fine."
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson is with Smith as much as anybody and hasn't noticed any difference in the team's signal caller.
"Not really," Pederson said. "Alex's personality and mentality has just been even keeled. That's just what you're going to get with him. He doesn't get too high or too low and that's great for a quarterback to have. I'm sure his emotions, back at Arrowhead for our first game, will run high there, but he'll settle in and get into the game plan and into the game and however long he plays, he'll do well."
That's exactly what Chiefs fans were hoping to hear. Tonight's preseason home opener is scheduled for 7:00 PM CDT.