Los Angeles Times

Chiefs QB Alex Smith finds a groove

The words were sympathetic and surprising.

Before Alex Smith made his first start for San Francisco in 2005, the mother of legendary 49ers quarterback Steve Young pulled his parents aside and offered her condolences.

"She said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry for you. I can't imagine having to go through that ever again,'" Doug Smith recalled. "Both my wife and I were thinking, 'Gosh, that's kind of unusual for her to say.' "

It didn't take long for the Smiths to figure out what she meant. It can be tortuous being the parent of an NFL quarterback, particularly one playing for a team as bad as the 49ers were at the time. Indianapolis intercepted four of Smith's passes in that 28-3 rout and sacked him five times.

It was a troubling omen for Smith, selected No. 1 overall, who endured eight tumultuous

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